The article looks at the contributions of writer and director Darlene Johnson to an emerging Australian Indigenous cinema. It discusses the ways in which Johnson draws on her experience as a young, urban Indigenous woman and her knowledge of Aboriginal culture to explore the postcolonial subjectivity of being caught between two worlds in her documentary and short fiction films, including River of No Return (2008), Gulpilil: One Red Blood (2002), Crocodile Dreaming (2006), and Two Bob Mermaid (1996). It argues that these films offer unique insights into the history of Indigenous involvement in cinema as a global system, and into the complexity of contemporary Indigenous filmmaking in Australia as a specialist sector that operates within while remaining different from the state-funded national film industry.

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