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Secrets of the Dead: Voyage of the Courtesans
Secrets of the Dead Voyage of the Courtesans
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 0min

Studio: Pbs Release Date: 05/06/2009 Run time: 60 minutes


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/17/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

What about the Founding Mothers?
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 02/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Watership Down" used rabbits as a metaphor for immigrants. The rabbits learn that once they have a new home, they can't really set roots down without females/women. French Canadians solved this by bringing orphan females from France. Thus, if the first (white) Australian men were convicts, who were their female partners? This documentary asks that question which is never asked on this side of the globe but sure is a good question to raise. This film is subtly feminist in its suggestion that women are a powerful civilizing agent and that men cannot fare well without them.
Not all of the female convicts sent to Australia were prostitutes. The title, in ways, seems deceptive. However, the experts note that poor women often had to use sex as a commodity or tool for survival. Just as immigration allows men to reinvent themselves, so too did this documentary show the female dregs of British society becoming the respected mothers of Australia.
This documentary shows many modern Australian women learning the history of their female ancestors. This is intended to be a symbolic progress narrative. These incarcerated 18th-century women have descendants that are educated and work in white-collar settings.
This work does slightly discuss whether sex is a necessity, but it does suggest that other things may be more important. On the one hand, the governor of Australia said the colony would be ruined without women, yet when the women arrive, the men are not overjoyed because they needed food more. Once food came soon after is when the merriment began. Perhaps sex is only a necessity once more pressing items like food and shelter are obtained.
This film does hint at why Aboriginal women were not a solution for these (white) men. However, there is a way in which this documentary skirts over people of color. Still, this documentary acted as a powerful intersection of history and women's studies. It showed how the metropole not only sucked resources away from the empire, but also tried to get rid of its "leftovers" onto other lands. I thought this was an insightful and intelligent work."