Resisting Invasions: Indigenous Peoples and Land Rights Battles in Mabo and Terra Vermelha

Aline Frey


This article examines two feature films, focusing on the link between Indigenous cinema, environmental preservation and land rights. The first film is Mabo (2012) directed by Aboriginal filmmaker Rachel Perkins. It centres on a man’ legal battle for recognition of Indigenous land’ ownership in Australia. The second film is Terra Vermelha (Birdwatchers, Marco Bechis, 2008), which centres on the violence endured by a contemporary Brazilian Indigenous group attempting to reclaim their traditional lands occupied by agribusiness barons. Based on comparative analysis of Mabo and Terra Vermelha, this article discusses the similar challenges faced by Indigenous nations in these two countries, especially the colonial dispossession of their ancestral territories and the postcolonial obstacles to reclaim and exercise self-determination over them.


Indigenous Cinema; Land Rights; Australian Cinema; Brazilian Cinema

Full Text:



Knopf, Kerstin. Decolonizing the Lens of Power. Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam – New York: NY, 2008. Print.

Langton, Marcia. Well, I Heard it on the Radio and I Saw it on the Television: An Essay for the Australian Film Commission on the Politics and Aesthetics of Filmmaking by and about Aboriginal People and Things. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1993. Print.

Shohat, Ella, Robert Stam, and Ebooks Corporation. Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. Secondition. ed. New York: Routledge, 2014. Web.

Stam, Robert, and Ella Shohat. Race in Translation: Culture Wars Around the Postcolonial Atlantic. 1st ed. New York: New York University Press, 2012;1998. Web.


Copyright (c) 2016

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.