A SISTER'S LOVE - ABC TV
Thursday, 11 October 2007 - 08:30PM
A Sister's Love is an observational, reflective documentary featuring Rhoda Roberts, best known as an Australian arts presenter and journalist. But behind her smile lies the tragedy of family turmoil, bigotry and the brutal murder of her identical twin sister.
We accompany Rhoda on a road trip home to Lismore in northern NSW to confront the terrible events surrounding the death of her twin sister, Lois, who disappeared while hitchhiking in 1998. Although the local police refused even to file a missing persons report because they assumed she had "just gone walkabout", Lois's brutally murdered remains were found in an isolated part of her Bundjalung homeland some time afterwards. Her skull has never been found and the perpetrator has still not been caught.
A Sister's Love is both a film about family grief and a reflection of the historical Australian attitude towards indigenous Australians as second class citizens. This very personal story of Rhoda and her family still dealing with the grief of a lost loved one is underscored by the racism and bigotry that followed Rhoda and Lois throughout their lives.
Rhoda recalls how she was constantly afraid that she would be stolen from school by the local authorities and put back in a mission because it was assumed that she came from an underprivileged Aboriginal home. And she remembers the experience of growing up as the daughter of a white mother and Indigenous father in Lismore, where "darkies" weren't allowed even to eat in the local café, contextualising the local police's neglect of her sister's vanishing.
Lois's surviving daughter Emily, whom Rhoda has raised from infancy, appears in the film as a constant reminder of the twin sister that Rhoda lost - an experience she describes as being like losing part of herself - and the land of the Bundjalung provides a beautiful backdrop.
A Martin Brown Films production; Executive Producer: David Jowsey; Producer: Martin Brown; Writer, Director, Co-Producer: Ivan Sen