The Flood

Gungabbie in rural New South Wales, far from the sight of the Australian seat of government and their promises of citizenship for the Indigenous People who responded to the call and took up arms to fight in the Second World War, promises never kept; having fought for his country, Waru Banganha returns home to find that the lands where his kin lived have been reclaimed, his people scattered.

His wife Janah, their daughter Binda and others like them placed in white households where they are worked as slaves, Waru aims to reclaim Binda from Kelly Mackay, favoured son of the fearsome Gerald Mackay, but he resists; Kelly and two others dead, Waru and Binda on the run, Gerald despatches one of the elder twins, Shamus, to find them, Paddy not being considered up to the job, with Jarah arrested and interrogated even though she has had no contact with either of them.

A beautiful country full of ugly people who claimed it and called it theirs while displacing those who had lived there for millennia, Jarah Banghana (Alexis Lane) is an orphan of the flood, driven by the rage of absolute helplessness as her child is taken from her, letters returned unopened, warned not to continue to pursue the matter when others know what is best for her family, the condescending righteousness of the colonisers who lie and steal then accuse “the Abos” of being no better than animals.

Written and directed by Victoria Wharfe McIntyre and filmed in Kangaroo Valley, much of which was subsequently destroyed by forest fires, The Flood is a Western of all-too-recent betrayals and atrocities which still scar Australia, a revenge thriller of two families, the underestimated Jarah, Waru (Shaka Cook) trained to fight, contrasted with his sister Maggie (Dalara Williams) who has seen a different side of the Mackay and inclined to forgive where he cannot, even the actions of Shamus (Dean Kyrwood).

So different from his brother Paddy (also Kyrwood, but with an eyepatch), both terrorised as children by Gerald (Peter McAllum), one became a monster while the other became a priest, one driven to unleash his past trauma on those who have no legal standing while the other tries to do the right thing, but The Flood is a force of nature which changes landscapes, sweeping away any who try to stand against it.

At times epic and distressing, at others disjointed and misjudged, pausing too often for flashbacks and moments of ethereal grace, McIntyre presents the murders of the family who sheltered Waru as murder yet the later execution of those same men by Jarah as a moment of cinematic cool, replayed over and again, yet nothing is so strange as Mackay Senior breaking the fourth wall to a musical number, a moment surreal and superficial which only distracts from the Stolen Generation whose story is told here.

The Flood is available on Digital Download now



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