Influential Refugees Represented in Film ‘Ladies in Black’

Director Bruce Beresford has represented Australian refugees, but not in the typical way,  in his latest film ‘Ladies in Black’.

Bruce grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney near a migrant camp at Villawood. He had close personal connections with refugee characters in his latest film.

PHOTO from ABC News

The film is based on a 1993 book titled ‘The Women in Black’ written by Madeline St John. It is about the influence of Eastern European refugees on Australian society as told through the story of ladies that worked in a Sydney department Store.

“I knew a lot of refugee kids from all over Europe”, says Bruce. He adds that the refugees in the film are not what most people expect; they are “a bunch of cultivated intellectuals”.

women in black .jpg
PHOTO from ABC News

Bruce continues, “It was always interesting to me to see how Australian society changed with this influx of European migrants — and Madeleine pinpointed it so cleverly in the book, and with such understanding and sympathy.”



My Thoughts About This

I’m extremely happy to see that Refugees in Australia are reflected in high esteem.

Oftentimes, refugees are stereotyped and represented as violent, a drain to tax payers money, non-intellectual, and unemployable.

However, it’s refreshing to finally see refugees shown as cultivated intellectuals with skills and experience in leadership roles. This is actually a current reality in Australia; unfortunately, because of their refugee status and not having their experience from Australia, it is often assumed that they are incapable of senior roles. This discrimination against refugees makes it extremely difficult for them to even enter entry-level and blue collar jobs.

I hope that the millions of people that will watch this movie improve their preconceived notions of refugees to something more positive.


Watch the trailer here



Written by: Caroline Martinez

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