18.2 C
Byron Shire
May 26, 2022

Promised Land

Latest News

One person is in ICU with covid in the Northern Rivers region

There is one person in ICU in the Northern NSW Local Health District and 23 people in hospital with COVID-19. 

Other News

Assange – election

As we think about where to put our mark on the ballot paper in this election, spare some time...

Cartoon of the week – 25 May, 2022

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Corporate beach

Tallow Beach is a great place to walk your dog and it has got a lot busier over the...

Our sitting member

The sitting member for Richmond, Labor’s Justine Elliott, is aptly named because, as far as I have seen, that’s...

Coal fired. How are the major parties planning for its end?

There’s very little economic future for fossil fuels, even if you ignore the environmental effects. Renewable energy is cheaper, including battery storage.


I have been subscribing to The Echo since my daughter moved to Mullumbimby late last year and I visited...


John Campbell

When reduced to basic building blocks, all cinema (all art, you might say) is social commentary.

Few filmmakers, however, are as overt in stating a case as Gus Van Sant – Elephant (2003) and Milk (2008) got right in the face of gun culture and homophobia. In this he has tackled the red-hot topic of coal seam gas mining.

Matt Damon is Steve Butler, an energy company rep who, with fellow employee Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), is buying up leases in a struggling farming community in the mid-west. What better actor to play the wholesome country boy who has arrived to save the battlers from financial ruin? Steve considers that clinging to the past and resisting progress is mere ‘delusional self-mythologising’. He believes in what he’s doing and Van Sant allows him to make cogent, reasonable arguments to support his and the big end of town’s position. This is the movie’s strength – that Steve, if not his bosses, is so upright, so genuine.

Docos, polemic in nature, preach to the converted (who often have their own entrenched prejudices), whereas dealing with an issue of critical importance via the means of traditional storytelling – with romance, conflict and identifiable characters – can convert the uncommitted and/or apathetic mob.

As well as it being stimulating and relevant, Van Sant has given us a fine entertainment, at once subversive, pugnacious and tender. Avarice is an unfair charge to make of a poor mother whose only hope of sending her child to college is to accept the company’s money, and Van Sant does well to stress this to those of us on our high horses.

The townsfolk will vote on whether they will acquiesce, but the ground starts to shift under Steve’s feet when the battle is joined by an environmental campaigner.

‘This is all we have’ is a message that is taking too long to sink in to our collective conscience – Van Sant’s wonderful movie will go some way to hurrying it up. And the sting in the tail is a beauty.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

North Coast Festival of Flavour

Organisers of the North Coast Festival of Flavour on 3–5 June 2022 say it’s not to be missed, as the producers, farmers, restauranteurs, brewers,...

Organic avocados at the farmers markets

We love it when the fuerte avocados make their way back to the market. As I walked over to the Organic Avocado stall, my...

Frida’s Field: nose-to-tail lunch

On Saturday 4 June, Frida’s Field will pay homage to their holistically-reared Angus-Wagyu cattle by hosting a special five-course nose-to-tail long lunch featuring all...

Tweed Council ‘opt in’ to States agritourism – with conditions

The ‘confusing’ Agritourism SEPP was once again back on the table at last week's Tweed Council meeting as Cr Firth pushed to 'opt-out' over the State government's lack detail on conditions.