Sweet As is a film that celebrates that special Indigenous connection to ‘Country’ – the term used by Australia’s First Peoples to describe the lands, waterways and seas to which they are inextricably connected.
The term contains complex ideas about place, custom, language, spiritual belief, cultural practice, material and emotional sustenance, family and identity. Country embraces the seasons, stories and creation spirits. Country is both a place of belonging and a way of believing. And as shown in Sweet As, Country is also a place of healing – emotional, psychological and spiritual – for Indigenous people or, indeed, for anyone.
The film takes us on a journey, physical and profoundly personal, aboard a bus carrying Murra, Elvis, Kylie and Sean. Four unhappy and vulnerable teenagers take to the backroads and the awe-inspiring landscape of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, each armed with a film camera. This is a film very much in the ‘road movie’ genre; an effervescent story of growth, acceptance and the journey towards finding oneself. With postcard-perfect shots of remote Western Australia and a road-trip-worthy soundtrack of all-Indigenous artists, Sweet As is a joyous, cinematic, life-affirming ride.
Sweet As is a film all students should watch. It indirectly characterises and parallels the story of the director herself, who, as a teenager, went on a road trip through the Western Australian Outback, also armed with a film camera. This was the beginning of, and inspiration for, her later career as a filmmaker. Such a story in itself shows how an uneventful step in life might well be the catalyst for a later career.
For school students, this film is best suited to students at Year 10 level and VCE Units 1-4 in subjects such as:
- Civics and Citizenship
- Film and Media Studies
- Indigenous Studies