Creative Spirits

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy

Tracey Moffatt | Australia 1990 | 17 min

A middle aged Aboriginal woman nurses her old white mother. During her tending of the old woman we feel her frustrations of duty, her suppressed anger, her own need for warmth and love, her personal loneliness. Her memories and dreams invade her nerve fraying routine until the old woman dies and we share the daughter’s immense sense of loss.

Shot entirely in a studio, the power of Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy lies in the artificially treated vibrantly coloured landscape and carefully constructed soundscape. The environment contributes another personality… an unbending, unchanging force.

Inspired by ‘Jedda’, Moffatt resurrects the two primary characters and propels them 30 years into the future, transforming the relationship between child and mother into carer and invalid.

Night Cries is about “loving and hating your mother”, says Tracey Moffat.

Cast Akira Fitzgerald
Elizabeth Gentle
Agnes Hardwick
Marcia Langton
Jimmy Little
Release dates 1987 - Australia
Video/DVD Release Date
Awards 1990 Melbourne Film Festival, Best Australian Film
1990 Montreal Women's Film Festival, Best Short
Tampere Short Film Festival, Special Jury Award
Rating G - general
Language level medium
Soundtrack Jimmy Little
Genre Drama

Tracey Moffat was born in 1960 and is an artist who works in both film and photography.

Tracey also wrote a book, Tracey Moffatt Fever Pitch, published in Sydney by Piper Press in 1996.

Other films by Tracey Moffat:
- Heaven (1997; footage of men getting changed in a car park near a beach, the film maker taking the position of a voyeur)
- Lip (1999; a collection of clips of black servants in Hollywood movies talking back to their ‘bosses’, attempting to expose the attitudes to race often found in mainstream cinema)
- Artist (2000; a collection of clips from movies and television programs that depict artists at work, at play and in the act of creation)
- Revolution (2008)
- Other (2009; 7 minutes of still images)

Other films by Tracey Moffatt:
Bedevil (beDevil) (1993)

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