The Survival of Kindness

Das Überleben der Freundlichkeit
In the middle of the desert, BlackWoman is abandoned on a trailer, in a cage. Her captors have left her to die. But she is not ready to pass. She escapes, and walks through pestilence and persecution, from desert to mountain to city, to find ... more captivity. Those responsible are reluctant to relinquish their privileges, and BlackWoman, escaping once more, must find solace in her beginnings.
As in his last film Charlie’s Country, the tragic hero of Rolf de Heer’s new work clearly asks: “What is left of our humanity?” This time the hero is a woman, portrayed with an unforgettable mix of bravery and weariness by Mwajemi Hussein. The Dutch-Australian filmmaker’s searing moral fable subverts our expectations by playing with a variety of genres, but confirms his indisputable understanding of the burden endured by ethnic minorities in a white man’s world. Their tragedy is amplified by the apocalyptic situation in which humankind finds itself, and their isolation further underlined by the film’s striking and meticulously composed dystopian landscapes. Poised between poetry and despair, BlackWoman’s thought-provoking story gradually gives shape to the most moving of exploits: the will to resist.
by Rolf de Heer
with Mwajemi Hussein, Deepthi Sharma, Darsan Sharma
Australia 2022 Abstract 96’ International premiere


  • Mwajemi Hussein (BlackWoman)
  • Deepthi Sharma (BrownGirl)
  • Darsan Sharma (BrownBoy)


Director Rolf de Heer
Screenplay Rolf de Heer
Cinematography Maxx Corkindale
Editing Isaac Coen Lindsay
Music Anna Liebzeit
Sound Design Adam Dixon-Galea, Tom Heuzenroeder
Sound Adam Dixon-Galea
Production Design Maya Coombs
Costumes Ellen Baldock
Make-Up Ellen Baldock
Visual Effects Mark Eland
Casting Angela Heesom
Assistant Director Murray Rehling
Producers Julie Byrne, Rolf de Heer
Co-Producer Ari Harrison
Executive Producers Domenico Procacci, Bryce Menzies, Sue Murray, Molly Reynolds

Rolf de Heer

The Australian filmmaker was born in the Netherlands. He has directed 15 feature-length fiction films, having written the screenplay for eleven of them and co-written another three. Alexandra’s Project screened in the 2003 Berlinale Competition; several other of his films premiered at Cannes and Venice. He has won the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award alongside numerous other prizes.

Filmography ( selection)

1984 Tail of a Tiger 1988 Incident At Raven's Gate 1991 Dingo 1993 Bad Boy Bubby 1995 Epsilon 1996 The Quiet Room 1997 The Sound Of One Hand Clapping; as producer 1998 Dance Me To My Song 2000 The Old Man Who Read Love Stories 2002 The Tracker 2003 Alexandra’s Project 2006 Ten Canoes 2007 Dr. Plonk 2011 The King Is Dead! 2014 Charlie’s Country 2022 The Survival of Kindness

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023