The Road 5i - Representations: Mystery Road


Representations: Mystery Road


In Ivan Sen’s film Mystery Road (2013), the mutilated body of a young girl found in a culvert reminds us of the real life death of Theresa Binge a decade earlier, and of the many accounts of young girls lured into trucks in the mining towns of Western Australia.

The protagonist in the film is an Indigenous police officer – Jay Swan – through whom the audience views the relative indifference of his white colleagues. In the opening scene where the body of the girl is discovered, a white police sergeant casually eats an ice cream. Meanwhile, a white reporter indulges in the spectacle of her death. As Jay attempts to seek answers, it becomes apparent that his superiors are unwilling to dedicate limited police resources to her case. Jay suggests to a fellow officer that perhaps what they want is to keep everything in place; for the sexual exploitation and femicide of Indigenous girls to be allowed to continue unabated.

In the subsequent film, Goldstone, Jay is sent to a small mining town to find a missing Chinese tourist. While conducting his investigations he becomes aware of the sexual exploitation of a group of Chinese women caught in a human trafficking operation. This revelation speaks to White Australia’s exploitation and disregard for racial minorities and the correlation between environmental violence and violence against racialised women.


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