End of the Line

I found End of the Line to be a fascinating documentary, I was very impressed by the fact that it was made by students.

While I found the documentary interesting it was also a little saddening and macabre in a way. The way the participants were introduced was particularly interesting.

The obvious note would be that the older generation of participants have nothing but praise for Broken Hill, yet the younger generation seem to think it is a dead end sort of place with no opportunities. These two very opposite trains of thought present us with two very different positions and conclusions that we can draw. Is Broken Hill an untainted paradise, free of the hustle and bustle of the city, or is it a dead end with no prospects?

The way the participants are presented to us seems to almost answer this question for us. When we are introduced to the older participants we have their dialogue telling us how amazing Broken Hill is and how much better it is in comparison to the city; yet we are shown dry, bare and dusty country landscapes with broken down cars and other sorts of debris, we are shown images of dry and cracked ground and barren land while this dialogue tells us of the riches of Broken Hill.

There is an interesting piece of dialogue layered with this dry and barren imagery, one of the older ladies speaks about living in the desert and about how God took the Jewish people somewhere where they were not dependent on the river.

Earlier the same lady also speaks about how she has come to Broken Hill basically to die. She says she has come to Broken Hill to die in the desert, and that she has met others in the same situation. These lines of dialogues, though short, evoke rich imagery of religion and mortality. It is an interesting concept to specifically come somewhere to die.

It’s also interesting to note most of the older participants who speak highly of Broken Hill were born there, so it also arouses a sense of nostalgia from them as they state that they could never live in the city, you wonder if they would feel the same way had they been born elsewhere. This is particularly interesting to compare with the younger generation who are interviewed, they talk mainly about how there’s nothing to do in Broken Hill and how eager they are to move away.

End of the Line accomplishes a lot in such a short amount of time. At first view I took the documentary as a simple interview piece but upon re-watching it several times the issues it addresses in its short run time is remarkable. It is really almost a piece about the battle between different generations, how different people see the world now as to how they did many years ago. I found it a touching piece, about a place that seems to be now lost in time.

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