This story begins in the hidden chasms of the Central Australian ranges. In the late 1950s, biologist Alan Newsome discovers ground-breaking new information about the behaviour of the red kangaroo. Some of the scientific knowledge comes to him in a highly unusual way: through an ancient song sung by an old Aboriginal man.
The knowledge is encrypted inside the song’s verses. But when Newsome breaks the code, he also breaks a sacred trust. He publishes secret knowledge about the powerful red kangaroo ancestor alongside his own scientific findings.
Today, old people who still remember the songs want to pass the knowledge on. Young people want to re-connect, and a new generation of scientists is enthralled by the parallels between two very different worldviews. But the songs are changing, and some will never be sung again.
‘The Dreamtime Code’ is a journey along one of Australia’s longest Songlines.
Through extreme landscapes, from waterhole to waterhole, a group of Aboriginal women search for the people who still know the verses of the powerful Seven Sisters Songline or dreaming track. They want to bring the Songline back to life.
Archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists and an astrophysicist will join them on the journey. Inside the songs may be clues to long-unsolved mysteries about the history of Australia. Now is the time, because the knowledge will die with the secret-keepers.
The Songline travels through many tribal territories and intersects with other Songlines. At these nodes, new stories emerge – of new species and mythical creatures and men who can still navigate by the sky.
The end of the Seven Sisters Songline is close. After thousands of kilometres, a song lost for generations can be sung again. The final scene brings the verses together. In it, we discover a sophisticated interpretation of how the land came to be and the rules of engagement with this, the driest of all continents.
When ‘The Dreamtime Code’ is deciphered this time, secrets will remain secrets.
Written and directed by Ruth Berry
Executive producers: Sabine Holzer, Walter Köhler
1 x 53 min., HD, 5.1 and Stereo