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KAUGERE: A Place Where Nobody Enters

Organiser: Stephen Dupont
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Stephen Dupont
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Location: Palace Norton Street, Norton Street, Leichhardt NSW, Australia
Entry Fee: $ 24
Genres: Photojournalism/Documentary
Presenter(s): Stephen Dupont

Set amid the squalor of one of Papua New Guinea’s infamous settlements, KAUGERE: A Place Where Nobody Enters is a modern-day parable of once tribal men finding their feet through the game of football.

Rugby coach Albert Muri is no stranger to crime and the raskol gangs that tore his family apart. Police gunned down his eldest son and his second son serves life in prison. Albert’s last great hope is his youngest son, Dia who helps him train a local rugby team, channeling criminal minds into sporting heroes.

But Dia treads a fine line between good and evil as he lives forever in the shadows of his gangster brothers. While the odds are against him, Dia triumphs as captain of the national basketball team but his boyhood dreams of becoming an NRL hero are shattered with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Albert awaits the return of his pardoned son, Desmond. But what future is there in a settlement that more closely resembles a slum? Running water is a rare commodity yet the echoes of domestic disputes a daily occurrence. And yet Desmond, just like Dia, dreams only to play rugby again…

With a backdrop of police brutality and detribalization, Albert’s devotion to change is heartwarming but is it enough to redeem his family and save his community?

Despite its backdrop of poverty and mayhem, KAUGERE turns into a surprisingly uplifting story thanks to Albert whose simple humanity and decency elevates the film beyond a recitation of third world problems into, cliche notwithstanding, a celebration of the human spirit.

© Rob Johnston

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Image detail: Gary Ramage