Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:13

THE GANJA QUEEN: Another Day in the Land of the Gods

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)
THE GANJA QUEEN: Another Day in the Land of the Gods Schapelle Corby went on holiday in 2004. At the time, she was 27, working in her parents’ fish and chips shop in Tugun, Australia, enrolled in a beauty therapy course. Her father had been diagnosed with cancer and she was caring for him; she hoped to get some time away before her father’s condition worsened. When Corby landed in Bali, she was arrested. Her boogie board bag, it turned out, was packed with nearly 10 pounds of marijuana. Incarcerated in Kerobokan Prison to await trial, Corby was instantly anomalous—a white woman among indigenous criminals, an Australian citizen and English-speaker surrounded by Indonesians. As her own “hidden camera” footage reveals, she shares a cell with multiple women who handle their calamitous straits variously—dancing, chattering, and praying. “These girls are crazy,” Corby states, not quite joking. While her observation reinforces Corby’s difference and distance from her cellmates, it also indicates the focus of Janine Hosking’s shrewd and compelling Ganja Queen, premiering on HBO 30 June (it’s a shorter version of Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth, which aired on Australia’s Channel Nine 22 and 23 June). Corby’s case is disturbing not only because the Balinese judiciary is opposite of Australia’s (the Balinese court needn’t prove her guilt; rather, she must provide a convincing other case in order to establish her innocence), but also because her own support system is so dysfunctional. Her strangeness in this strange land makes for riveting viewing, for Corby is buffeted by assorted forces, sometimes literally, as the unruly press throngs her each day she is delivered to the courtroom during her trial. Even as it boasts “unprecedented access” to participants in the case, the film remains focused on Corby’s plight, without interviewing the prosecution, prison representatives or judge. (It does offer a brief testimony by a customs officer, I Gusti Nyoman Winata, concerning what he saw on opening the boogie bag, as well as his memory of Corby’s response to seeing the marijuana.) Lacking cultural or political context, the documentary creates a sense of Corby’s alienation and fearfulness. In this way, the film appears at times a cautionary tale of the sort offered by National Geographic’s tourists-in-trouble series, Locked Up Abroad. But it’s also a study in ignorance, presumption, and incomprehension, the many ways that Corby’s family, attorneys, and most fervent financial supporter, Ron Bakir, handled and mishandled the case. Hosking spent three years following her subjects, and provided Schapelle with the hidden camera for her diary-like footage. The film, scored with emotive guitar (as well as Lucinda Williams’ beautifully gnarly “Essence”), presents a range of contradictions and conflicts, as these led to the “Verdict That Polarized a Nation”: Corby was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment (this after the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty). Early scenes allow family members to describe what happened. Mercedes is horrified, looking back, that she didn’t bring more than $140 with her to the police station when her sister was arrested. While the film shows customs area footage, including Schapelle’s frightened face, Hosking asks Mercedes, “You know from living here that things can be fixed and sorted, but you only had a little bit of money with you?” But if the system might have been worked, the film also notes that potentially evidentiary surveillance video was either missing or destroyed and that “Countless hands touched the drugs during the evidence throughout the arrest; neither the vacuum sealed plastic outer bag nor the untouched inner bag were fingerprinted.” Confronting this systemic chaos, the defense team is mostly funded by Bakir, who is introduced in a frankly bizarre assembly of his TV ads (he sells cell phones, via a manic persona, “Mad Ron”) and his mother’s baffled approval (“Maybe,” she muses, his drive to help was “something from god to him”). Members include attorney Robin Tampoe (who proffers the theory that Australian luggage handlers put the drugs in Corby’s bag) and criminologist Paul Wilson. In his expert opinion, she’s not the “usual drug mule,” as she has “no history of drug addiction or severe financial embarrassment.” He also believes she’s not “intelligent” to run such a scheme, though the film never shows him interacting with her. Ganja Queen for the most part observes events and characters without judging. That said, there are apparently enough bad actors to go around, on all sides, from the shady Bakir (shown making deals or demands on his cell phone, whether driving his car or walking around his backyard swimming pool) to Corby’s stepfather expressing his outrage when asked about his past experiences with drugs (“You ever had a puff on a joint?” he taunts the interviewer, “What about you, Mr. Cameraman?). The trial itself, tracked by the day, provides plenty of harrowing imagery. Most of this involves Corby’s efforts to keep herself together in the face of all manner of disasters in her case. She can’t understand the legal processes (her young female translator frequently holds her hand as she explains what’s happening); her increasingly distraught mother, Rosleigh accuses demonstrators outside the courthouse and then a TV reporter of spreading lies (“Karma comes around to naughty dishonest people!”); and Mercedes is accused in the press of selling drugs in the surf shop she runs with her Balinese husband, Wayan Widyartha. Reporters, Mercedes says, are calling her friends “to get dirt on me.” The story is complicated by the fragmented front put on by Corby’s supporters. Primarily, they point to the ridiculousness of trying to smuggle drugs in this fashion; they also note that her bag was not locked, that she’s too “ordinary” to have conjured such a plan, that her younger half-brother might smoke pot, that an inmate in Australia overheard two other prisoners claiming the drugs were put in her bag by mistake. None of these stories coheres into “proof,” and late in the case, Bakir tells a reporter that the prosecutors sought out bribe money, a report that enrages authorities and for which he must apologize publicly. Such complications are enhanced by the film’s cleverly arranged split screens, showing multiple players simultaneously, with recurring close-ups of Corby during court proceedings, her red face and attempts to breathe through her mouth actually painful to watch. Recently hospitalized for depression and weight loss, Corby to this day maintains her innocence and so refuses to apologize for the crime (one route to request mercy from the court). At the same time, at least one poll in Australia suggests a majority of people believe she is guilty. The film doesn’t provide grounds for a certain judgment either way. Instead, it indicts the bumbling of legal and media systems that have left the case appear so unresolved even as it is ostensibly closed.
Read 701069 times Last modified on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:15


  • Comment Link Shad Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:56 posted by Shad

    Some really howling work on behalf of the owner of this internet site, perfectly great content.

  • Comment Link Bernice Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:54 posted by Bernice

    La mayor parte de las flores de esta especie, crecen en la zonas tropicales de américa mientras que, otras acostumbran a crecer
    también en Asia, Australia y Oceanía.

  • Comment Link Aubrey Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:49 posted by Aubrey

    Warframe should be one of the bad free-to-play games.

  • Comment Link forum.annecy-outdoor.com Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:42 posted by forum.annecy-outdoor.com

    Folks employed to meet in the flesh to possess any form of
    common interaction. It also ensures that if you need to see that
    perfect date you need to ensure that the first impression you're
    making is an excellent one and may cause him to wish to uncover more.
    If you accept to live with your mate without tying the knot, understand
    that your relationship might be in danger.

  • Comment Link Lélio Vieira Carneiro Junio Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:38 posted by Lélio Vieira Carneiro Junio

    I have read so many articles or reviews regarding the blogger lovers except this article is truly a fastidious piece of writing, keep it up.|

  • Comment Link Jocelyn Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:36 posted by Jocelyn

    Very good post. I will be dealing with many of these issues as well..

  • Comment Link Florian Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:22 posted by Florian

    The art of ghazal singing has been able to entice millions round the globe.
    You don't have to invest in the most important or heaviest tripod for
    private use. This can be very advantageous to you personally just like you
    might be a fast learner, with just a trial, you might learn all you desired
    to simply and free.

  • Comment Link Larry Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:21 posted by Larry

    The great thing relating to this DVD is you can do the dance exercises anytime, with no partner.
    They will shun jobs its keep isn't help to the city involved.
    The plastic's name is often abbreviated to CR-39, standing for Columbia Resin, in fact it is less than 50 % the load of glass,
    which supplanted quartz within the early twentieth century.

  • Comment Link Sherita Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:08 posted by Sherita

    Greetings from Carolina! I'm bored to teaqrs at work so I decided
    to browse your site on mmy iphone during lunch
    break. I love the nfo you presnt here and can't wait to take a
    looik when I get home. I'm shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I'm not even using WIFI, jujst 3G .. Anyways, wonderful site!

  • Comment Link Itamar Serp Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:07 posted by Itamar Serp

    There's certainly a lot to know about this subject. I like all the points you've made.|

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.