Based on true events, "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is a moving story of racial prejudice, agoraphobic desert vistas, and amazing endurance as three girls walk 1,500 miles to find their mothers in 30s Australia.
These are the shocking facts behind the movie: during the early years of the 20th century, white Australians panicked about the supposed disaster of an "unwanted third race" of "half-caste" Aborigine children.
Special detention centres were set up across the continent to keep the mixed race children from "contaminating" the rest of Australian society, and orders were given to forcibly remove "half-caste" children from their families.
It was a disastrous, racist policy that brought about the misery of the so-called "stolen generations".
In "Rabbit-Proof Fence", Australian director Phillip Noyce gives us a perceptive, uplifting drama that highlights - and overcomes - that racist policy.
Having been forcible separated from their natural mothers, three girls - Molly (Sampi), Daisy (Sansbury), and Gracie (Monaghan) - escape from the Moore River Native Settlement, presided over by AO Neville (Branagh).
With an epic journey ahead of them, the girls set out to find their way back home by following the rabbit-proof fence that stretches across the Outback.
Cutting back and forth between the children's journey and Neville's increasingly desperate attempts to capture them, Noyce's sensitive dramatization swaps angry politics for emotional sympathy, concentrating on the plight of the children instead of ranting against the authorities.
By highlighting the realities of this hidden genocide (unbelievably, the policy continued until the early 70s), "Rabbit-Proof Fence" stands as a powerful, worthy testimony to the suffering of the stolen generations.
"Rabbit-Proof Fence" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 8th November 2002.