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form y separately published work icon Cracks in the Mask single work   film/TV  
Note: Diary written by Ephraim Bani
Issue Details: First known date: 1997... 1997 Cracks in the Mask
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Over the last 100 years, the Torres Strait Islanders in far north Australia have been the subject of many anthropological expeditions. The resulting depletion of their cultural artefacts has left them with nothing but a history of remembered loss. The only people in the Pacific to make elaborate turtleshell masks have none left; all their material culture now resides in foreign museums.

'In a quest to reclaim the past, Ephraim Bani, a wise and knowledgeable Torres Strait Islander, travels with his wife to the great museums of Europe where his heritage lies. Ephraim unburdens himself to his diary in moments of poignant revelation: the artefacts made by his ancestors have undergone a transformation as museum displays. When Ephraim asks for the return of some objects, the resulting debate exposes wider questions about contemporary museum culture as well as the complexity of international and Indigenous politics. They thought it would be easy to talk to the curators about the restitution of some objects; but to his mind, museums were in competition with each other to own the greatest treasures.

'As the title suggests, even the thickest of masks can crack when the original owners come to visit.'

Source: Ronin Films (distributor).



Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Talking Pictures , 1997 .
      Extent: 56 min.p.
      Description: Colour (with black and white sequences)
      Series: form y separately published work icon The Cutting Edge SBS Television (publisher), Australia : SBS Television , Z1699116 1989 series - publisher film/TV

      The Cutting Edge is a current affairs and documentary series telecast by SBS, beginning in the late 1980s. Its manifesto has been to invite filmmakers to ask incisive questions of contemporary political culture and social experience. Over the years, the program has included investigative and insightful treatments of crises in everyday life (such as schools, the family unit, aged care, and the modern workplace) as well as issues such as free speech and defamation, corporate governance, or the real-life effects of new social policies.

      SBS Television has typically commissioned up to sixty short films a year for The Cutting Edge, with these comprising a mix of Australian productions and those financed in conjunction with international broadcasters. In 2001, SBS Independent began offering a pre-sale license fee and equity investment to fully finance these films. Budgets of up to $275,000 were made available in return for a 50/50 shared copyright deal.

Last amended 10 Apr 2019 13:58:10
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