Review: We Don’t Need A Map / SFF / Jasper

By Jasper Musgrave

Courageous, rebellious and dangerous We Don’t Need A Map stands as a harbinger of freedom and bitter justice for Australia’s Aboriginal community. The documentary educates its audience on the still ever present racism demonstrated by the Australian public, some 50 years after the 1967 Aboriginal referendum.

By retracing our history as “Australians” director Warwick Thorton locates where this issue lies: not with our nation’s nationalistic pride or with it’s shadowing nonchalance, but instead with its lack of identity. Thorton finds evidence in his argument from our heralded Australian flag, which contains an image of the Southern Cross. In Thorton’s eyes, the true nature of the Southern Cross from a white Australian perspective has been a history of demonising Aboriginal Australia, by way of exploitation of sacred land originally belonging to the Aborigines. The contemporary Australian public has either been unaware of this or wilfully blind. On account of modern society’s position on this matter, Thorton in the past has drawn comparison between the Swastika and the Australian flag. This is the principal reason why he still stands by his accusation of Australia’s lack of identity and contrition for its ongoing mistreatment of Indigenous society.

Thorton delivers this message with the renegading zeal of a punk aesthetic and soundscape all while paying homage to Aboriginal customs, art and its undying culture. From beautiful celestial shots of the dream time night sky to raw intrinsic dolls that resonate Indigenous nostalgia upon first glance We Don’t Need A Map possesses just as much truth as it does poise.

Thorton overall delivers such a finessed political blade that first looks may fail to perceive. This is a perfect documentary for anyone willing to indulge themselves in the beauty of Aboriginal culture and the truth of Australia’s fraudulent history; that is almost too often brushed over.

We Don’t Need A Map opened the Sydney Film Festival.

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