This film is structured around two main themes: the production of the musical Bran Nue Dae and the life of Jimmy Chi. Both elements are interwoven with key participants, players in Jimmy's life, and archival footage. The musical Bran Nue Dae, devised by Jimmy Chi, is the story of an Aboriginal boy's flight home from the city of Perth to his homeland at Djaridjin. His search for identity, love, and security are shown through a blend of traditional Aboriginal music, rock and roll, blues, and opera.
Bran Nue Dae has been hailed as a landmark in Australian theatre history, as it is the nation's first 'Aboriginal musical.' It premiered in Perth in 1990, where it won the Sidney Meyer Award for outstanding achievement in the performing arts. It then toured major Australian cities and Western Australian Aboriginal communities such as Broome.
Although the play contains pointed protest against mistreatment of Aborigines (e.g., the mission system, frequent arrests, land theft), it refuses to define Aboriginal culture as something belonging to the 'past,' as something tragically lost. Instead, in an almost celebratory fashion, it forges (or at least anticipates) new, hybridised Aboriginal identities.