22

SUNDAY

For anyone who has never quite understood walkabouts, songlines, or other arcane aboriginal lore, Radiance opens a more accessible portal to Australian native culture. Set in a small town in subtropical Queensland, Rachel Perkins’s 1998 drama uses a familiar device: Three sisters (by different fathers) reunite in their scenic hometown for their mother’s funeral, which is followed by a round of reminiscences and revelations. One of the women has lived a quiet domestic life, another has become an opera singer—cue Madame Butterfly—and the third has made a (not very good) reputation for herself on Oz’s rodeo circuit. The rush of long-submerged emotions is bit Eugene O’Neill, so it’s no surprise that Louis Nowra’s script was adapted from his own play. Layered with the usual theatrical conventions, however, are more specific insights into today’s aboriginal native society, which mingles Christianity, ritual use of animals, and Radiance licorice nougat. The film screens at 4 p.m. in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)