Utopia is intent on lifting the veil on Australia’s racist treatment of its Aboriginal population, calling the conditions faced by Aboriginal people the country’s “dirtiest little secret”.

Utopia is a vast region east of the Stuart Highway. But the film also compares the utopia of suburban Australia with the actual Utopia in the remote Australia. It is a film about these two Australias.

“Barely a fraction of mining, oil and gas revenue has benefited Aboriginal communities, whose poverty is an enduring shock," says journalist and director John Pilger [1]. "In Roeburne, in the minerals-rich Pilbara, 80% of the children suffer from an ear infection called otitis media that causes partial deafness. Or they go blind from preventable trachoma. Or they contract Dickensian infections. That is their story.”

Pilger would have been delighted to show Utopia in Australia first but no local distributor offered a cinema run. "One Australian distributor refused to take the film because he said it was 'too dark' and 'it might upset people with its myth-busting'," the veteran journalist says [2].

The film Utopia focuses on the experiences of Aboriginal people living in Western Australia.

Utopia can make some viewers feel bad or guilty or uncomfortable. As an Indigenous person I want to let you know that the majority of us find those kinds of feelings are unproductive. For us, watching something like this is about equipping as many non-Indigenous Australians as possible with knowledge and information about the history of Australia to give you a better and more informed understanding. — Dr Bronwyn Carlson, Executive Director, Echidna Group [3]

More details about the movie on John Pilger's website.

Utopia trailer


Release dates
15 November 2013 - UK
26 January 2014 - Australia
Video/DVD release date
16 December 2013
G - general
Antidote Films

Utopia is available for streaming on Beamafilm.

Anthony Hayward has written Breaking the Silence: The Films of John Pilger, a book about the journalist and documentary maker's work,

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View article sources (0)

[1] 'Treatment of Indigenous Australians our “dirtiest little secret”, says Pilger', 1/5/2013,, retrieved 6/5/2013
[2] 'John Pilger's damning new film about indigenous Australia', SMH 31/12/2013
[3] 'The Bank reaches out during NAIDOC week', Currency magazine, July 2014, Reserve Bank of Australia

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Utopia, <>, retrieved 12 August 2020

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