A good day in class is watching the newest Australian motion picture musical to hit cinemas. The Sapphires premiered in Brisbane earlier this year now reaching a nation-wide release since August 9th.
The film reinterprets the true story of four Aboriginal Australian women who entertained US troops in Vietnam in 1968. Drawing on themes of Aboriginal connection to land, ideas of kinship and home, the story offers something unique among movie musicals.
Featuring voices from Australian singers, such as Australian Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy, the soundtrack has made it to the #1 spot on the ARIA Album Chart. This makes it the first Australian-produced soundtrack to make the top of the Australian charts since Moulin Rouge in 2001.
As well as featuring a star cast including Chris O’Dowd, the film was helmed by first-time-feature director Wayne Blair. Working with fellow Aboriginal filmmaker Warrick Thornton (cinematographer/director of Samson and Delilah 2009) Blair brought a uniquely Aboriginal touch to an international film.
Of course there are fantastic filmmakers here in Australia who are rarely seen outside the desert island and the barrier is often the box office. Australian films have a tendency to not do very well in their own cinemas.
This theme was overturned this past week as The Sapphires took the #2 box office spot (behind Dark Knight Rises) bringing in $2.32 million in its opening weekend. The total international gross up to this point has reach over $8 million, a fantastic early box office figure for a sub $10 million budget.
With a heartwarming story, beautiful cinematography and soul-wrenching soundtrack, The Sapphires is worth seeking out, not to mention a great method for ASC students to learn about Australian cinema, culture and people.
The Weinstein Company has bought limited international distribution rights to The Sapphires, so you can expect it to be playing soon in a cinema near you.