We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson

Directed by Leah Purcell
109 minutes
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Leah Purcell wrote, directs and stars in this period Western about a determined mother protecting her children – a searing reimagining of Henry Lawson’s classic with an Indigenous female gaze.
It's 1893 in the alpine country of Australia's Snowy Mountains. On an isolated farm, the heavily pregnant Molly Johnson (Purcell) and her young children struggle to survive in the absence of her drover husband. When a fugitive Aboriginal man, Yadaka (Rob Collins), arrives on her property, Molly initially treats him with extreme caution. But gradually, Yadaka proves helpful in a difficult situation, and just might provide a link to Molly's past. Meanwhile, the continuing absence of Molly's husband starts to draw the attention of lawman Nate Clintoff (Sam Reid) and his wife Louisa (Jessica De Gouw), leading to devastating consequences. Purcell has explored this material before, to great impact, in both novel and play form. With this vibrant cinematic adaptation, she brings a radical and strikingly contemporary vision to the story. As Purcell says: "I was brought up by storytellers, within a culture where the tradition of storytelling is passed down and histories are heard from the Black experience, not from white-washed history books."

Leah Purcell, a proud Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman, is an internationally acclaimed director, writer and actor. Along with extensive theatre credits, Purcell directed the short films She. Say (SFF 2012) and Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun. In 2017 she was awarded the Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award. The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson is her debut feature film.
An exceptionally compelling outback Western.
Joe Leydon, Variety
Following a mother determined to protect her children as a lawman and an Aboriginal fugitive each encroach upon her life, the atmospheric revenge-thriller marks the feature filmmaking debut of actor/writer/director Leah Purcell, who plays the titular matriarch with steely resolve, rousingly adapts her own play and book, and delivers an impassioned film with an unflinching Indigenous and feminist perspective.
Sarah Ward, Screen International


Sat 6 Nov
State Theatre
Book Tickets Cancel
Sun 7 Nov
State Theatre
Book Tickets Cancel
Tue 9 Nov
Ritz Cinemas Randwick 1
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Program Strand
Official Competition
In English
Leah Purcell
Bain Stewart, David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn, Greer Simpkin, Leah Purcell
Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid
Leah Purcell
Mark Wareham
Dany Cooper
First Nations, Australian Films, Focus on Women, Literary & Adaptations, Politics & Economics, Religion & Belief, Women Directors
Company Credits
Australian Distributor: Roadshow Entertainment
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