Berlinale

Stephen Maxwell Johnson – High Ground #Berlinale2020

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9 min. and 31 sec.

Revising Australian history: and it’s about damn time.

Play Podcast
9 min. and 31 sec.

PODCAST | Nicolò Comotti interviews Stephen Maxwell Johnson, director of the film High Ground.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Stephen Maxwell Johnson talks to us about his highly anticipated return behind the camera: High Ground. High ground is a revenge thriller that uses the tropes of Western westerns to tell the real history of Colonial Australia and its barbaric intervention in order to tame and ultimately eradicate aboriginal culture. High Ground premiers worldwide here in Berlin, inside the Berlinale Special Gala section.

High Ground: After fighting in the First World War as a sniper, Travis, now a policeman in the vast empty spaces of Northern Australia, loses control of an operation that results in the massacre of an Indigenous tribe. When his superiors insist on burying the truth, Travis leaves in disgust, only to be forced back twelve years later to hunt down Baywara, an Aboriginal warrior whose attacks on new settlers are causing havoc. When Travis, now a bounty hunter, recruits as his tracker the young mission-raised Gutjuk, the only known survivor of the carnage, memories threaten to resurface and turn the white man from hunter into the hunted. Set in the 1930s, High Ground is inspired by true events. A frontier western about colonial violence and misunderstandings that deeply resonates in today’s Australia – and indeed all over the world – the film explores the nature of loyalty and the ability to distinguish freely between right and wrong, in opposition to the dogmas of the age in which you live.

To discover more about the film, click here.

  • Reporter
    Nicolò Comotti
  • Guest
    Stephen Maxwell Johnson
  • Interviewee role
    director
  • Film title
    High Ground
  • Festival section
    Berlinale Gala
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