Glenn Kenny
June 19, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Midnight Oil/Warumpi Band: The Black Fella, White Fella Tour

Current Status
In Season
musical, Documentary

We gave it an C

Framed by two video clips from Midnight Oil’s 1988 album, Diesel and Dust, this documentary chronicles a 1986 tour of aboriginal lands undertaken by Oil and aborigine group the Warumpi Band. Most politically active bands (Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett nearly won an Australian Parliament seat a few years back) concentrate on raising the consciousness of their audiences, but this tour was Midnight Oil’s attempt to raise its own, and the group came away with a renewed perspective on the exploitation and oppression of aborigines. While Midnight Oil/Warumpi Band: The Black Fella, White Fella Tour contains a lot of energetic (if unimaginatively shot) performance sequences of both bands, it doesn’t tell the story of the tour terribly well. Only three-quarters of the way through, after mostly inconsequential on-the-road footage, do we see any of the band members discussing their concerns or impressions. The lack of any unifying voice or coherent structure makes what could have been a compelling look at an important issue into a mere curio for hard-core Midnight Oil fans. C

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