Essie Coffey’s My Survival as an Aboriginal (1978) and My life as I live it (1993): autobiographical documentary and the socio-political struggle of an Aboriginal, Black woman

Renan Chaves, Gabriel Tonelo, Deane Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper analyzes the autobiographical documentaries My Survival as an Aboriginal (1978) and My life as I live it (1993), by Essie Coffey. We aim to localize Coffey’s work historiographically and theoretically in relation to American, European, Australian and Latin American documentary traditions, pointing out aspects of racial and gender identity and class alterity. Our analysis of these films indicates innovative methodological and thematic intersections between autobiographical narratives and social and race issues as well as highlighting the potential autobiographical narratives have to update both personal issues and issues of collectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-245
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Autobiographical documentary
  • Direct Cinema
  • Essie Coffey
  • Aboriginal film
  • Australian documentary

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