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.