'While recently teaching in Japan, I used the Australian film Bran Nue Dae (2009), directed by Rachel Perkins, in one of my courses. The mixed, but non-Australian students, were interested to discuss why a film that was partly about family and historical trauma was a comedy. Extending from the interest, this article considers whether there has been a similar response in Australia to Indigenous-themed films. Are Indigenous issues in Australia, today, also understood to be best represented as serious; that is, to be presented in terms of trauma and with a focus on the difficult moments? Why might many people—the Tokyo students, but also non-Indigenous people in Australia—find it hard to laugh with (or even at) Aboriginal peoples doing funny things? Using Bran Nue Dae, and my students' reactions, this article examines the usefulness and limits of the sometimes careful attendance to issues of race and pain, which are often the way non-Indigenous people engage with Indigenous peoples and issues. Drawing on the success of Perkins' film, the article also explores the usefulness of comedy.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.