Lifeblood

Synopsis

Bourke is a place that exists on the edge of civilisation, and at the edge of Australia’s collective memory. When you visit this part of Australia, and really see it, it will speak to you. In a modern context, Bourke represents one of those places that sees ‘Boom and Bust’ on an almost seasonal basis. An abandoned place. Littered with memories and old stories. But when you look closely, you see that life is everywhere. Impossibly beautiful. Life hibernates. Life adapts.

The people of Bourke Shire are more resilient than the rest of us. After the Europeans arrived, Aboriginal people in Bourke were taken away, and others were brought here, to live in the missions. Today there are more than 20 tribes and clans represented in the region, so identity is a problem for a lot of Aboriginal people. Is this my place? Or is this your place? Have a think about what that must feel like.

Lifeblood is a film about the intersection of place, history, and our identity. Who are we as Australians? We are disconnected from our true cultural identity. We don’t understand our environment, and therefore we don’t know how to protect the delicate equilibriums that have existed for millions of years on our planet.

Bourke people are more closely connected with the way our planet is changing. People suffer when the river is low. Businesses go bankrupt because of the drought. People change their livelihoods accordingly. We ignore the truth, and an entire culture that flourished for hundreds of thousands of years slowly dies. Why do we ignore these truths? Where are we rushing to? Stop and look. Stay a while, and you will see.

Lifeblood short film

Review

5/5
A love letter to Bourke. An artistic masterpiece.
Nicholas Tory’s 20-minute animation ‘Lifeblood’ is a love-letter to Bourke – a remote town 780km North West of Sydney, New South Wales in Australia.

‘Lifeblood’ is an extraordinary artistic effort in animation, sound effects and music. This short film rewards viewers with a truly mesmerising viewing experience and follows the towns journey through history up until present day. Nardi Simpson guides the narrative as narrator which is as hypnotic and dream-like as the animation itself. The animation gloriously showcases the towns natural tranquillity, deserted wilderness and picturesque landscapes.

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As the film opens, we learn about the origins of the community and the aboriginal women that were forcibly taken from their homes and families by the state (in collaboration with the Church). They arrived in Bourke for missions with little knowledge of the language. As much as the animation is a poetic kiss to the community, it doesn’t shy away from showcasing its haunting past through spiritual (demon-like) forces that fly in the sky. The film explores the Darling River – a once pivotal trade-route and how the community taught people to be alone in the world, but never alone within the community.

‘Lifeblood’ is short film that you won’t forget in a hurry. A creative masterpiece that deserves high praise. Emotive writing from Nicholas Tory, Aunty Dot Martin, Jonathan Nix and Phil Sullivan as well as stellar animation and artistic design guarantee its success. A film made in honour and recognition of all tribes, clans and language groups of the region. Highly recommended.

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Published in January 2022

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Director(s):
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Director of Photography:
Editor(s):
Animation:
Sound:
Music:
Miscellaneous:

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Lifeblood

Synopsis

Bourke is a place that exists on the edge of civilisation, and at the edge of Australia’s collective memory. When you visit this part of Australia, and really see it, it will speak to you. In a modern context, Bourke represents one of those places that sees ‘Boom and Bust’ on an almost seasonal basis. An abandoned place. Littered with memories and old stories. But when you look closely, you see that life is everywhere. Impossibly beautiful. Life hibernates. Life adapts.

The people of Bourke Shire are more resilient than the rest of us. After the Europeans arrived, Aboriginal people in Bourke were taken away, and others were brought here, to live in the missions. Today there are more than 20 tribes and clans represented in the region, so identity is a problem for a lot of Aboriginal people. Is this my place? Or is this your place? Have a think about what that must feel like.

Lifeblood is a film about the intersection of place, history, and our identity. Who are we as Australians? We are disconnected from our true cultural identity. We don’t understand our environment, and therefore we don’t know how to protect the delicate equilibriums that have existed for millions of years on our planet.

Bourke people are more closely connected with the way our planet is changing. People suffer when the river is low. Businesses go bankrupt because of the drought. People change their livelihoods accordingly. We ignore the truth, and an entire culture that flourished for hundreds of thousands of years slowly dies. Why do we ignore these truths? Where are we rushing to? Stop and look. Stay a while, and you will see.

Review

A love letter to Bourke. An artistic masterpiece.

5/5
Nicholas Tory’s 20-minute animation ‘Lifeblood’ is a love-letter to Bourke – a remote town 780km North West of Sydney, New South Wales in Australia.

‘Lifeblood’ is an extraordinary artistic effort in animation, sound effects and music. This short film rewards viewers with a truly mesmerising viewing experience and follows the towns journey through history up until present day. Nardi Simpson guides the narrative as narrator which is as hypnotic and dream-like as the animation itself. The animation gloriously showcases the towns natural tranquillity, deserted wilderness and picturesque landscapes.

Lifeblood short film
As the film opens, we learn about the origins of the community and the aboriginal women that were forcibly taken from their homes and families by the state (in collaboration with the Church). They arrived in Bourke for missions with little knowledge of the language. As much as the animation is a poetic kiss to the community, it doesn’t shy away from showcasing its haunting past through spiritual (demon-like) forces that fly in the sky. The film explores the Darling River – a once pivotal trade-route and how the community taught people to be alone in the world, but never alone within the community.

‘Lifeblood’ is short film that you won’t forget in a hurry. A creative masterpiece that deserves high praise. Emotive writing from Nicholas Tory, Aunty Dot Martin, Jonathan Nix and Phil Sullivan as well as stellar animation and artistic design guarantee its success. A film made in honour and recognition of all tribes, clans and language groups of the region. Highly recommended.

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