peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2010 01 03 Balibo


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Of the feted Australian movies of last year, this is the best I've seen yet. The story itself is a bit thin, but it is powerfully articulated and beautifully rendered, and it comes as no surprise to find David Williamson's fingerprints on it. I wish it had a little less melodrama and a bit more contextualisation; what were the roles of Portugal, of the U.S.? Did Britain really pay for the helicopters? What else did Gough Whitlam say before bodies were broken? — and so forth. Hamish McDonald feels likewise. Hmm, is he the last journo working at Fairfax?

The story of Roger East was unknown to me. Could they not have found a place for Jill Jolliffe within the film too?

It demands a follow-up, a sequel of sorts, on the liberation of East Timor, and then perhaps another on whether they've got their hands on any kind of justice yet, or ever will. Last I heard the East Timorese government had opted for a blood-under-the-bridge approach, but it seems the wind changed almost immediately. Apparently Australia still has troops there, at least according to Wikipedia, and I have to wonder whether the dog or the tail is wagging on that front.