“The top prize for best documentary feature going to “Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow,” dir. Philippa Bateman’s portrait of musician and activists Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.”
Ranked Top Documentary on The Guardian list of top 10 Australian Films of 2022.
“On the many occasions when this film soars, it’s sublime.”
“This beautiful film is, in every way, a memorable experience.”
4 /5 Stars
Australian Women in Music Awards 2023: Filmmaking Category
Director: Philippa Bateman
Brisbane 26-27 September 2023
AIDC 2023: Best Feature Documentary
Philippa Bateman, Archie Roach (AC), Kate Hodges, Ian Darling, Emma Donovan
“Philippa Bateman’s Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow celebrates the talents and carries the passions of two of Australia’s most revered and beloved musicians – Archie Roach (AC) and Ruby Hunter – through a performance of their sublime Kura Tungar: Songs from the River song cycle. Elegant, confident, and intimate to its magnetic subjects, Bateman’s film so impressively captures a setting and a stage where music compels the story of their lives, and where it stands proudly in resistance against the injustices of our history.
Through an ambitious and outrightly beautiful combination of concert film, biography and political struggle, Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow is a profound sharing of Roach and Hunter’s own gifts of storytelling; a film full of heart, the beauty of song, and the transcendent power of art to confront pain, and to heal.”
Seventeen years in the making, Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow is a cinematic reinvention of a legendary concert that premiered in 2004.
Kura Tungar-Songs from the River was a collaboration between two of Australia’s greatest artists—singer-songwriters Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter—working with Paul Grabowsky and the 22-piece Australian Art Orchestra.
Using footage combining conversations, rehearsals, and the opening night, with breathtaking images of Hunter’s Ngarrindjeri country in South Australia, the film is a portrait of artists at the peak of their powers and a profoundly moving story of loss, love and what it means to truly come ‘home’.