Babakiueria Screening (TLGS Almost-Doc Series)
A group of White People are barbecuing. Music plays on their stereos as they pass burgers around picnic tables. Men drink beer, children play cricket. When the ball rolls down to the nearby lake, a young White Boy chases to catch it. That is when he spots a small power-boat of uniformed Black People approaching the shore. He runs to his parents in fright. The Black People land on the beach, walk steadily by in a lined formation, and plant their flag in the ground as the gathering audience of White People watches in astonishment.
The head Black officer approaches a White man and in slow English asks, “WHAT – DO – YOU – CALL – THIS – PLACE?”
“Err… It’s a barbecue area,” the White Man responds with hesitation.
“Babakiueria? They call this place BABAKIUERIA! Nice native name – colourful. I like it!”
This is the first scene to the Australian satirical mockumentary Babakiueria, our second film for the TLGS (almost) Doc Series.
This role-reversal film manages to summarize complex colonial issues of land rights, government control, resettlement, forced family separations (for the purposes of “educating” the Indigenous population), and much more, in twenty-nine minutes and twenty seconds. Yep, you read that right, in less than half an hour, you will see these issues in new light as you laugh out loud at the absurdities of colonial practices.
Done in the eternally amusing style of 80’s all-important, all-capturing documentaries (*cough* James Burke’s BBC documentaries *cough*), you will travel across Babakiueria to learn more about the lives of White People. You will learn to appreciate their art (a graffiti tag on a rock), their industries (a broken car in the distance), and you will learn to respect their affinity for air pollution. You will hear from the Minister for White Affairs in a series of interviews that convince you of the vitality of the good-natured policies in place to protect the White folk. Walls will go down as you realize that White People indeed love their families and want a better life for themselves!
I am willing to put money down on this: no one will ever be able to make another film this short and this hilarious about settler-colonialism. If you have never wanted to go down this particularly depressing rabbit-hole, this film can be a highly entertaining gateway drug.
You might argue that it is depressingly sad that we need this role-reversal for the appalling absurdities of systematic Indigenous marginalization and oppression to be felt. Do we only react to issues when the victims are White and like to barbecue on a sunny day? I rather not duel on this particular paradox much. I would say though that if a twenty-nine-minute mockumentary is the key to empathy, then so be it!
We will be screening Babakiueria on Friday November 17th, at 7 PM in the Cummings Lecture Theatre. Since the movie is so short, those interested can stay behind after for a quick, friendly (and I suspect giggly) conversation about the film. As always, there will be popcorn.
See you all there!