Movie Review – Wash my soul in the river’s flow
This is a documentary about Country, love and loss – and so much more. In 94 short minutes it captures significant moments in the lives of Archie Roach and the late Ruby Hunter; two talented musicians and partners.
In 2004 the pair debuted their concert Kura Tungar – Songs from the River: A musical journey through love and country. Collaborating with the talented Australian Art Orchestra, Roach and Hunter shared memories, songs and yarns about their past, both before and after they met.
This concert forms the basis of the documentary, and many moments captured on stage have been interlaced throughout the storyline, giving rise to the musical theme that runs through the entire piece.
Growing up as First Nations people who were victims of the stolen generation, the documentary centres around the impact this had on identity, family and community. As artists, Hunter and Roach use songwriting as a medium for sharing their experiences, and see this as an important part in telling their story in a way that is their own. “We wanted to forget and tell the stories of our lives as comedies and triumphs, not tragedies” says Roach.
The inclusion of off-stage interviews and photographs help the audience to gain a more in-depth picture of the talent and charisma the two emulated.
More subtly, this documentary makes a comment on Indigenous Australia and the continuing degradation of our environment. Hunter was a Ngarrindjeri woman, born on the banks of the Murray River, featured throughout the film in an artistic and emotive lens.
This documentary does well to elicit space and time for the audience to come to their own realisations about the hugely impactful, and connected, outcomes of white Australia upon our Indigenous population and the environment. It gives you an opportunity to know more and deepen your understanding of our collective past.
Wash my soul in the river’s flow is on for a limited run at Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Luna outdoor and Camelot Outdoor. Screening March 10 – 16.