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Children of the Crocodile
A film by Marsha Emerman
Australia, 2001, 52 minutes, Color, DVD, Tetum/Portuguese, Subtitled
Order No. W03788
This documentary tells the story of two young Timorese-Australian activists – one a high profile human rights worker, the other a performance artist and lesbian – and their personal journey to further the cause of peace in the homeland they were forced to flee. Although merely infants when their families left East Timor to seek political asylum in Australia, Cidalia Pires and Elizabeth Exposto carry on their parents’ human rights work promoting the Timorese struggle. Their tireless activist efforts are documented through two amazing years in East Timor’s history - from the joy of voting for freedom in August 1999 to the rage at the destruction that followed and time of renewed commitment and hope. Their country’s independence fulfills their lifetime dream, but it also brings hard choices and painful returns for them both. Cidalia, in particular, faces the additional challenge of being an openly gay Timorese woman in a culture heavily steeped in tradition and conservative gender roles. CHILDREN OF THE CROCODILE tells a story which is personal yet universal - about ideals, identity, and the strength of an exile community that is committed to furthering the cause of peace in their native land.


  • Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO)
  • Immaginaria Lesbian FF, Italy
  • AUSFEST, Digital Video Festival
  • Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival- Audience Award
  • New York Asian American Int'l FF
  • Women of Color FF, CA
  • Newport Beach FF
  • Cinema Paradise FF
  • Paris Lesbian FF

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    “A touching and poignant account…told through the lived experience of East Timor’s struggle for independence. An excellent ethnographic film…highly recommended for a variety of social science courses: cultural anthropology courses focusing on refugee and immigrant issues, gender, and politics; courses in women’s studies, and history and area courses on Southeast Asia.”
    Visual Anthropology Review

    "[an] evocative journey...This is a genuine, courageous, warm tale worth seeing."
    Lindy Sterling
    Victorian Association of Social Studies Teachers

    "... a fascinating documentary ...a moving insight into the lives of two passionate young women and a reminder that behind every grand historical moment there is a multitude of individual stories just waiting to be told."
    Sian Prior
    The Age

    “… tells the dramatic but little known story of the East Timorese independence struggle from the perspective of young people of the diaspora... Highly recommended for its attention to the role of generation, gender, and sexuality in the construction of both nationalist and diasporic identities.”
    Elizabeth G. Traube
    Anthropology Dept, Wesleyan University

    “Highly recommended…Well filmed and edited…a great addition to any cultural studies collection.”
    Educational Media Reviews Online

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us