'On a lonely cattle station in the Northern Territory, a newly born Aboriginal baby is adopted by a white woman in place of her own child who has died. The child is raised as a white child and forbidden any contact with the Aborigines on the station. Years later, Jedda is drawn by the mysteries of the Aboriginal people but restrained by her upbringing. Eventually she is fascinated by a full-blood Aboriginal, Marbuck, who arrives at the station seeking work and is drawn to his campfire by his song. He takes her away as his captive and returns to his tribal lands, but he is rejected by his tribe for having broken their marriage taboos. Pursued by the men from Jedda's station and haunted by the death wish of his own tribe, Marbuck is driven insane and finally falls, with Jedda, over a cliff.'
(Synopsis from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School website, http://library.aftrs.edu.au)
'Northern Territory-made film Jedda will be screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival later this month in honour of its 60th anniversary..'
'Mythology and speculation have swirled for years about the creation of the final scene of Jedda, the first Australian feature film shot in colour...'
'The uses and understandings of the category ‘Australasian’ seem to shift and vary within the multiple contexts of the term’s application. Each new
volume of Studies in Australasian Cinema, for example, not only negotiates the elasticity of screen culture, production, and scholarship as critical ‘objects’, but also speaks simultaneously (often in the broadest and even tangential senses) to regional experiences of, or responses to, all of these. ' (Author's introduction)
'The dubbing of the voices of Aboriginal actors in The Irishman (Crombie, 1978) and Jedda (Chauvel,  2004) is discussed, first in a general context of the prevalence of post-sychronization of cinema sound in past and contemporary practices. The Irishman is thereafter considered through the spectacle of DVD packaging with commentary, a para-cinematic device that works – through a similar mechanism to dubbing – to influence the reception of the feature film; then Jedda is approached with reference to the various accounts that have emerged of the dubbed voices, none of which seem to conclusively indicate the grounds or status. Concluding reflections on these histories are drawn to wider institutional and industrial conditions, and also to contemporary films that address the voices and silences of Indigenous people.' (Author's abstract)
'In the 1940s and fifties, wealthy woolgrowers in and around the rural southern New South Wales town of Yass gave generously to Charles Chauvel to enable the making of Jedda (1955). These same farmers employed members of the local Ngunnawal community in domestic and rural labour. The issues of segregation, assimilation, child removal and Aboriginal employment that are represented in Jedda resonate in the histories of communities in this region. When the film was released some watched it at a glamorous official opening in Sydney while others attended the local, segregated cinema. This article places oral history accounts of seeing Jedda (at the time of its release) alongside the archive, to explore the nature of the intersections and segregations that shaped relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of this area. It also explores the complex subject positions articulated in these memories that attempt to come to terms with personal histories of segregation in an era of revisionist histories and reconciliation.' (Author's abstract)
'The review and analysis of the Australian film 'Jedda' directed and produced by Charles Chauvel is discussed. It was the first Australian film to be invited to and receive critical praise at the Cannes film festival.'
Colin Johnson examine's the construction of Aboriginal identity in Charles Chauvel's Jedda, arguing that the film is not a realistic depiction of life, or of conflict between European and Aborigine as it is often taken to be, or a mishmash of 'Hollywood' images and romanticism transferred to Australia. Instead it is a film constructed from the ideological position of Chauvel - a position Johnson refers to as 'ideological authenticity.' A number of contradictions arise from his position, he writes. 'One such contradiction involves the positioning of the Aboriginal male in Australian film. From the book, Walkabout, it may be seen that Chauvel had ideas on what constituted a 'true' Aborigine, and this 'trueness' had little basis in reality, but in his holding such notions as 'the noble savage' - a stereotype familiar to us from Tarzan films.' However, while Chauvel sought to project the idea that he had made a quasi-documentary film, a 'true' story though clothed in action, showing what happens when the Aboriginal enters the white world and how it leads to tragedy, the flatness of his European characters, and the strength of Tudawali's role enables us to read the film as an Aboriginal text.'
'When reading the film as an Aboriginal text we see that its central conflict, the stealing of women and its resolution, is an old problem inherent in Aboriginal society. This central conflict enables Aboriginal men to strongly identify with Marbuk. 'Identification' is extended to Aboriginal women, too, especially mission women and station women, in that Christian indoctrination forbade them to have anything to do with such savage myalls as Marbuk. The mission inhabitants, predominantly women, were forced to forego their Aboriginality at least consciously. Only in dreams was it allowed to emerge, and it did. Forbidden, the savage, or the free Black Man became a fascinating sexual object for those women. Chauvel unwittingly transcended his film, for when he depicted the lure of Marbuk for Jedda, he was depicting the lure of Aboriginality for mission blacks... What makes his film rise above a B Hollywood film is not a plot so much as his casting of a black man in the leading role. Tudawali's acting ability and charisma dominates the film.'