Sweet Country

Australian director Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) brings a vital Indigenous perspective and great cinematic vision to this powerful, revisionist epic.


Dir Warwick Thornton
Prod David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin
Scr Steven McGregor, David Tranter
With Sam Neill, Ewen Leslie, Thomas M Wright
UK Distribution Thunderbird Releasing

An Aboriginal stockman is accused of murdering a white man in Warwick Thornton’s searing Australian Western. Thornton follows up his uncompromising Camera d’Or winning debut Samson & Delilah (LFF2009) with an expansive film of great cinematic scope and vision. It’s 1929 and segregationist policies weigh heavy in Australia’s Northern Territory. Cattle-herder Sam (Hamilton Morris) is sent with his wife and niece to work for newly-arrived station owner Harry March (Ewen Leslie). But where Sam’s religious boss (Sam Neill) treats them respectfully, March is institutionally racist, unhinged and abusive. When March goes on a booze-fuelled rampage, an altercation occurs and Sam shoots him in self-defence. Anticipating that frontier ‘justice’ will prevail, Sam and wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) go on the run. The local sergeant (Bryan Brown) sets off in hot pursuit, leading a posse of landowners and aided by Aboriginal tracker Archie (Gibson John). Traversing the stunning MacDonnell Ranges outside Alice Springs, the chase takes them onto country where Sam, a seasoned bushman, has the upper hand. Heightening the overall sense of dread and unease with a series of hallucinatory flash-forwards that reveal horrors yet to come, Thornton brings a vital Indigenous perspective and a striking visual imagination to this potent, revisionist epic.

Clare Stewart

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Warwick Thornton, Director

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.