“Fred Schepisi’s internationally acclaimed masterpiece The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), based on the novel by Thomas Keneally, is the shocking tale of an indigenous man driven to madness and revenge. Jimmie Blacksmith (Tommy Lewis) is a young Aboriginal half-caste raised in central New South Wales at the turn-of-the-century, a boy initiated by his tribe but also educated by a stern Methodist minister (Jack Thompson).
Looking to gain respectability in white society, Jimmie finds a white bride while performing back-breaking work on local farms, but cannot escape his skin color, suffering ongoing racism and oppression. Discovering that he may not be the father of his wife’s child, and red without pay, Jimmie explodes in a fury of violent revenge and escapes into the bush with his brother Mort, cutting a bloody path of retribution upon the society that has forsaken him. In 1901, the year Australian democracy is born, Jimmie Blacksmith finally faces his fate, and with it the fate of his people.
This two-disc set includes the 117-minute international version and the 122-minute Australian version.
“DISC 1: International Version (117 minutes)
• Interview with Fred Schepisi and DP Ian Baker
• The Chant of Tom Lewis, an interview with star Tommy Lewis • Trailer
DISC 2: Australian Version (122 minutes)
• Audio commentary by Fred Schepisi • Introduction by Fred Schepisi
Also includes booklet essay by lm critic Peter Tonguette”