Film Reviews

Babakiueria: Satirical Short Film about Australia

I don’t know if anyone has heard of this short satirical film about the relations between the Aboriginal-Australians and European-Australians in the 1980s. The film is under 30 minutes and filmed like a 60 Minute special. For a short film, it discusses a lot about the struggles, the media invisibility, social isolation, and poverty in a role-reversed cast.

The film starts with a bunch of middle-class people at a park near a body of water are barbecuing food in a barbecue area. Then a group of Aboriginal people in colonial military attire walk from the waterside and claim the area for themselves. The military men asked the barbecue people what do they call this land. Startled they say it’s a barbecue area. The military man miss hears this has Barbakiueria.

The film takes place 200 years later in modern day 1980s culture with the European-Australians being the minorities of Australia while the Aboriginal-Australians are the majority. The role reversal of European Australian people in the metaphorical shoes of the Aboriginal people of Australia in the 1980s. With the Aboriginal-Australian people in government roles, headlining the media-controlling the narrative and making arrests of people humbly celebrating important calendar days of their culture calling them too loud. And the European-Australians go through tokenism, forced relocation, disempowerment by poverty, children taken away, and perceived misconceptions of culture and work ethics. It also goes through the government’s hand on the situation. The tone is analytical and persuasive in the storytelling of racial issues.

The rest of the short film is like a TV news special with an anchor walking around Australia discussing with the camera the modern day issues the institutional racism did to the minorities of the country. The deadpan acting of Michelle Torres who played anchor Duranga Manika is remarkably good. The news brief style of delivery was important to the overall tone of the film it not be in jest and hear what was being said. I never got the feeling that there was a fine line between uncomfortable comedy to dramatic satire. It was a lot like a news program of its time with the anchor being patronizing with the “fascination of the quant culture” spending time with the typical “white” family while the government is systematically destroying the communities with legislation, law enforcement and the societal structure.

There’s no laugh-out-loud comedy here but there are a lot of things politicians say, everyday people say and how the reporter is broadcasting the news which makes it odd to hear it coming out their mouths because is belittling and rude. The film writes this dialogue as commonplace with the society, especially at the end of the short.

I would recommend other people to watch it for the notions of Australian affairs even though this is just a short film. I found this film online on YouTube and remembered it because there’s an entertainment value to the film which made me remember it months after viewing. The film still holds up to modern day scrutiny because it still points out longstanding issues that need to change for the better that benefits everyone.


Genre: Satire/Drama/Short
Year: 1986
Duration: 29 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Four out of five stars

All screenshots are from the film

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