One Heart-One Spirit
Kenneth Little Hawk, Yolngu People, Jack Thompson
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A truly moving experience, showing the beauty in seemingly little things.
John Pritchard and Greg Reeves’ Aboriginal Australian/Native American documentary, One Heart-One Spirit provides an immersive glimpse into the life and spirituality of the Northern Australian Aboriginal Yolngu nation. 40,000 years old and one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures, its people have countless rich traditions and ideas to share with the whole world, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, if they are willing to listen and learn. In order to make this possible, the Yolngu hold a three day, annual Garma Festival. The word Garma means “Coming Together in Harmony”. This coming together is of all people, where everyone is invited to witness, celebrate and learn about the Yolngu’s traditional practices, beliefs and art.
Legendary Australian actor, Jack Thompson, a long-time supporter of the festival is our narrator through this well-known but in many ways, unknown way of life. While pretty much every Australian can recognise a didgeridoo, very few understand their significance, or why Aboriginal people care so much about the land and how they consider themselves in relation to all humans that inhabit the earth, past and present.
When Kenneth Little Hawk, an elder Micmac/Mohawk performing artist from New Jersey flies halfway around the world to meet the Yolngu, despite their differences, they see each other as family. This is not just because their cultures faced similar political struggles and discrimination, it was because Little Hawk approached the community with wishes of love and happiness. This mutual compassion allowed the Yolngu and Little Hawk to connect as part of the one human family.
The film covers a lot of unknown or misunderstood aspects of Aboriginal culture, with Jack Thompson inimitable voiceover breaking down all of the ceremonies and items shown in the film for the layperson. When faced with cultural difference, it is often easy to feel overwhelmed and even alienated. However, this film provides a truly moving experience, showing the beauty in seemingly little things. To put it dramatically, One Heart-One Spirit offers a solution for the quickening demise of the entire human race – show respect for each other and our world.
Following its bow at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, One Heart-One Spirit will tour colleges and universities around the world. The producers have created a 60-page Guidebook to Indigenous Wisdom based on 13 video clips from the movie.