June 15, 2007

Ten Canoes flawed

MOVIE REVIEW:  'Ten Canoes' an aboriginal tale with universal appeal"Ten Canoes" is more interesting as a film project than fascinating as a movie experience. Presented as a dramatically enacted oral history, it's at times slow and difficult to follow, relationships are occasionally unclear, action and romantic scenes are brief and tentative, and the small white-on-white subtitles are sometimes impossible to read.

Nevertheless, it's the first full-length feature filmed entirely in an Australian aboriginal language. Narrated by aboriginal film star David Gulpilil, it's cast entirely by barely clothed indigenous non-actors from the Arafura Swamp area, east of Darwin in Northern Australia. "Ten Canoes" is as much a lesson in aboriginal anthropology as it is a multi-level drama set within three simultaneously unfolding time frames: in the time of the storyteller, the story he's telling and the main story within the story. Dutch writer-co-director Rolf de Heer and first-time co-director Peter Djigirr attempt to distinguish among time frames with varying degrees of success.

No comments: