June 01, 2007

NY Times reviews Ten Canoes

Ancient Aboriginal Tales, Parallel Across Epochs“Ten Canoes,” the 10th feature by Mr. de Heer, a Dutch-born Australian filmmaker, is a close collaboration between him and the Ramingining Aboriginal people, many of whom appear in the movie. The first feature made in an Australian indigenous language (there are several different dialects), it swept the 2006 Australian Academy Awards. For the director it was the next logical step into ethnographic territory after his 2002 film, “The Tracker.” In its immersion in a primitive culture, it recalls Zacharias Kunuk’s comparably impressive 2002 film, “Atanarjuat” (“The Fast Runner”), the first Canadian Inuit feature.

The Storyteller, portrayed by the veteran Aborigine actor David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu (“Walkabout,” “The Last Wave” and “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” billed simply as David Gulpilil), is the only character who speaks English. Almost everyone else in the 90-minute film, set in the Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory, east of Darwin, speaks the Ganalbingu language, which is translated into colloquial, occasionally racy subtitles.

Once you become accustomed to the mystical vocabulary describing a world without modern science and technology, it amounts to using different terms to describe universal experience. Both the Storyteller’s tale and the movie that contains it transport you out of time and leave you wondering if sorcery, religion and psychotherapy are different forms of magic.
Comment:  See also Canoes Is More Than Just an 'Important' Movie.

3 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Um, er, uh, are you sure? Is that title, TEN CANOES? Or is it TEN CA(SI)NOES? Just asking...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I don't think Australia's aborigines have casinos.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Not YET, they don't...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'