Eora 1995

Eora looks at histories of the Aboriginal peoples of Sydney, the Eora people. What I tried to do was play around with concepts of time and space within the frame. Seeing Aboriginal people doing some hand-spray paintings on the cave wall and then seeing them jump in a car and take off, like transposed from pre-contact to today; shots of traditional Aboriginal people on the beach, at the Quarantine Station at Manly, Sydney, walking with spears. I’d zoom up, or pan up, and you might see the city in the background, sort of like saying that we’re still here. MR

Commissioned by the Museum of Sydney and produced by Blackfella Films, a production house established by Michael Riley and fellow filmmaker Rachel Perkins in 1992, Eora addresses the Aboriginal history of the Sydney area. Using family, friends and colleagues in the one-hour film, which combines three screens of 20 minutes of footage each, Riley shot the film in and around Sydney with the city barely featuring. The three screens, similar in format to Riley’s triptych photographs, juxtapose three different scenes: archival and historical illustrations, present-day action and landscape. Each one changes seemingly to its own rhythm with the imagery departing and arriving at intersections intermittently. Eora featured Gary Warner as executive producer, Mic Gruchy as producer and David Prosser as co-producer/artistic director.

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