Trump a sign of despair in a very powerful nation: ‘Romper Stomper’ director

Melbourne, Aug 21 : Having Donald Trump as President is a "drastic experiment" and a "sign of despair" for a powerful nation like the US, says Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright.

Wright's conviction about bringing alive a "Romper Stomper" mini-series 25 years after the cult film on racism stormed its way across Australian cinema screens, strengthened, he says, with Trump's political ascent.

"Trump is a sign of despair in a very powerful nation.

It's difficult to admire someone like Trump, it's not possible for me," Wright told IANS in an interview here as he agreed that when Trump emerged as US President, he wanted to revisit the Russell Crowe-starrer "Romper Stomper" all the more.

"This is a sign of a country that is experimenting in an unfortunate way, and I hope they come back on track.

You're not going to have a brilliant President every time, India or Australia, but you don't want such a drastic, dire kind of experiment.

You want something that is a bit more optimistic."

While not wanting to "demonise" Trump, Wright explained: "It's not as simple as that because it represents a block of the public that voted for him and they have got their issues with how things have panned out for them.

There are parts (of the US) where there's too much unemployment," he said.

"The people who were empowered before Trump, possibly overlooked them, and the country has paid a price, the world has paid a price because of a group of people," he added.

As a film, the high-on-violence "Romper Stomper" followed a neo-Nazi group which spent their time attacking Asian immigrants in suburban Melbourne.

In its mini-series avatar, which came out earlier this year, anti-Muslim immigration came in focus.

"It's strange that I could take a story that is 25 years old and bring it back into focus because, unfortunately, the issues haven't gone away.

The perpetrators, faces and the actors involved in the story... changed, but the fundamentals don't. And in the last few years, the whole planet has had a bit of a confrontation with coping with the clash of civilisations.

"I think we are out of the worst of it, but it got scary for a while..But I don't want to speak... because who knows what atrocity could be, what could happen in terms of global affairs, clash of nations, armies," said Wright on the sidelines of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) where he was part of the jury.

Having watched a variety of Indian films via the gala, Wright was particularly impressed by Tabrez Noorani's treatment of sex trafficking in "Love Sonia".

Raising issues through the medium of cinema is a culture that must be promoted the world over, especially on issues pertaining to the socio-political milieu of a nation, he says.

"It's really important because governments have their limitations, but individuals don't.

And individuals make up the film industry. And the film industry is all over the world. Every country has one -- a tiny one, a major one or something in between.

"But every country has something, and it's made up of individuals who can make a difference and be passionate about telling a true story or something that reflects the truth.

I am not talking about documentaries, but those based on the truth or something they have observed," said the silver-haired filmmaker, whose "Romper Stomper" script was inspired by the crimes of leading Melbourne Neo-Nazi skinhead Dane Sweetman.

"Governments can only go so far, individuals are limitless," Wright added.

And what about the censorship that can come along with political movies, at least in the Indian context?

"You've got to keep pushing.

You might take the ground by only a few centimetres first, but on other days you will take it by metres and there will be a day when you will take it by kilometres.

But you will take ground every day you push... Five years from now, 10 years from now, when you look back, you'll say you've come a distance," he says.

"You're not going to win every battle.

No one does. But you've got to try and win as often as you can," he adds.

(Radhika Bhirani was in Melbourne on an invitation by IFFM organisers.

She can be contacted at



Source: IANS