Alice King
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In a shameful chapter of Australia’s history, the government forcibly removed ”half-caste” children from their families in order to ”breed out” their blackness (and, conveniently, the Aboriginal race). Rabbit-Proof Fence, an immensely moving version of a true story, follows three young girls who have been taken from their family who escape their internment camp and embark on a heroic journey by foot to their home some 1,500 miles away. There’s a spareness to director Phillip Noyce’s film — the sere landscape, the simple storyline, the nonprofessional-actor children’s clipped, minimal dialogue — that leaves it wide open, as if minimizing the proportions of the narrative is the only way to see its enormity.

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