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Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and the Making of Jedda
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'Filmmaker Charles Chauvel described the casting for Jedda, released in Australia in 1955, as ‘a unique experiment’. He referred to the casting of two Aboriginal people, who had never acted before, as the film’s stars. Much scholarship has examined the film itself, analysing its themes and its representations of Aboriginal people. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which its Aboriginal stars, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and Bob Wilson, experienced starring in the film.1 This paper focuses on Kunoth-Monks, who was for a brief time widely known and acclaimed throughout Australia, and whose starring role continued to be remembered throughout her life, even as she moved into areas of activity far removed from the film industry.2 Writing on the practice of film history, Barbara Klinger has advocated an approach which seeks to provide a ‘total history’ through investigating ‘a film’s “ancillary” texts’ (for example, promotional material and popular media texts).3 For historians interested in filmic representations of, by or for Indigenous peoples, the narratives found in texts surrounding the participation of Indigenous peoples in filmmaking can be as rich as the films themselves for analysis. In this paper, I critically explore narratives about Kunoth-Monks’ experience of filmmaking, and recurring representations of her, which appeared in the popular print media, in publicity material for the film and in the memoirs of Chauvel’s wife and filmmaking partner, Elsa, as well as Kunoth-Monks’ own memories. Exploring her brief time as a film star provides insight not only into the film and the Chauvels’ attempt to represent Aboriginal people on film, but also into the ambiguous and sometimes uncomfortable experience of being simultaneously a traditional Aboriginal woman and a film star.' Source: Karen Fox.

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Last amended 20 Sep 2011 13:45:49
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  • Jedda Charles Chauvel , Elsa Chauvel , 1955 single work film/TV
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