A good hearted film of an imaginary folk music festival in Western Australia.
If you have lived in or are living in Australia you will have some idea of the white ‘colonial’ Australian versus the aboriginal ‘native’ Australian. This is one of the issues the movie touches upon and imaginatively resolves as coexistence. This is an important mental health issue and does lead to high emotions at times. The humour of the aboriginal leader Jack is a good shield to and from the ‘I’ll be damned’ of the white Australian Morris. When the theft of a costly iPad becomes a flash point, it is the young granddaughter, not wanting to get ‘him’ arrested, who takes the blame leading to a thought reversal of the Morris family head. Dancing as an emu with the natives dance troupe is the symbolic resolution of this issue in a way, coexistence and acceptance of both cultures and perspectives that can take us forward. This is what we mental health professionals try to instil in our clients when faced with different, hard and hostile perspectives in relationships.
The movie also delves into the issue of refugees in Australia, those who are denied their freedom, not ‘where they come from’ but here in Australia; as they are limited to Refugee camps from where an Afghan troupe is brought to the Folk music festival. The message of acceptance of multiculturalism and different faiths is also a pertinent issue to mental health, if you cannot accept others just because they are of a different religion or faith, then the biases inherent in that rejection will certainly make your life and make you less acceptable to a multicultural Society.
There is however, the more important mental health issue of control. For Keevey, the fiddle player, it is about whether she is letting her abilities and aspirations slip away because she wants to be there for her father. When the male lead Roland motivates her about moving on to a bigger field in music she doesn’t agree and even argues with him. She believes that after her mother’s death she should be close to her father and further believes that she is playing ‘good’ music with her father’s Australian rock group. Such beliefs often trap us and keep us from moving forward, and the movie shows how external motivators are essential for us to change. Keevey’s father on the other hand claims that he knows Keevey is a better musician and wants her to move on to a bigger stage. When the time comes to let her go, however, he finds himself unable to do so. As he says, ‘you are all I have’. It is towards the end of the movie that he accepts that he has lost control over his drinking, probably his life and of course his daughter. ‘Can you help me’, he asks of the AA guide!
Control is key to many mental health problems. If we give up control, we fear loneliness, failure, rejection etc; and if we have too much control we tend to feel the burden, the expectations and the responsibility of it. Many people assume they do not have control, when they do (Keevey feels she cannot let go, when in fact she can) ; and many claim they have control when they do not (Keevey’s father feels he has a drinking habit which is his choice, when in reality the booze has control).
And the lead character Roland aka ‘Tman’, (played extremely well by Robert Sheehan), a techno fusion musician, shows how motivators, leaders, people who encourage, people who help us see the positive are so important in our life. Change is what comes of such people, change for the better. Keevey realises this as not only does he manage to get her to audition but also to look out for herself, to focus on her music career and of course get her into the Music Academy. These change persons are rare these days, but mental health professionals are the ones who are trained and skilled to lead you from a stuck life to an enthusiastically, happy joyful life!