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Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)
"Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  8 February 1985 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,163 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

The geologist Lance Hackett is employed by an Australian mining company to map the subsoil of a desert area covered with ant hills prior to a possible uranium extraction. His work is ... See full summary »

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Title: Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lance Hackett
Wandjuk Marika ...
Miliritbi
Roy Marika ...
Dayipu
...
Cole
Norman Kaye ...
Baldwin Ferguson
Ralph Cotterill ...
Fletcher
Nick Lathouris ...
Arnold
Basil Clarke ...
Judge Blackburn
Ray Marshall ...
Solicitor General Coulthard
Dhungala I. Makika
Gary Williams ...
Watson
Tony Llewellyn-Jones ...
Fitzsimmons
Robert Brissenden
Michael Edols ...
Young attorney
Bob Ellis ...
Supermarket manager
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Storyline

The geologist Lance Hackett is employed by an Australian mining company to map the subsoil of a desert area covered with ant hills prior to a possible uranium extraction. His work is impeded by some aborigines who explain that this is the place where the green ants dream. Disturbing their dreaming will destroy humanity they claim. Hackett informs the company which offers various "solutions" such as a large amount of money or a percentage of a possible revenue. Invited on a trip to a city some of the aborigines sees a military aeroplane and express the wish to own it. The company buys it and gives it to the aborigines as a sign of good will. A runway is made in the desert and the plane is flown to the location. All negotiations concerning the area fail and the dispute goes to a court of the Commonwealth. Parties and experts are heard, obstacles are met such as an aborigine who is the sole survivor of his tribe (and language) and therefore no-one understands what he is saying. Two of ... Written by Frank Dabelstein <frank@dabelstein.dk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ant | plane | mining | desert | green ant | See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Where the Green Ants Dream  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two names used for characters ("Baldwin Ferguson" and "Miss Strehlow") provide links with anthropologists noted for their work on Australian aborigines. Baldwin Spencer (1860-1929) was a British-Australian anthropologist who did pioneering studies on aborigines. Theodor George Henry Strehlow (1908-1978) was noted for his studies on the Arunta/ Arende people of Central Australia. See more »

Quotes

Lance Hackett: The situation, your Honor, is this man is the the sacred custodian to the secrets of this tribe. And his tribe has died out. He is the sole and final survivor of his people, his clan. They call him the mute, because there is nobody left on this earth for him to speak with.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #8.4 (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Voice in the wilderness
Written by Ernest Bloch
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User Reviews

 
A Neglected and Unknown Classic
2 July 2002 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

I'm invariably surprised when I mention this film to friends that they say they've never seen it. Werner Herzog in Australia? C'mon. How could the great German director of Wozzeck, Nosferatu and other Gothic classics concern himself with a very oblique tale of a development project impeded by Aboriginal Australians who contend that disturbing the green ants dreams by ripping up their habitat will likewise rip the fabric of the universe? The government solution is to give them an airplane which one of the younger members of their tribe eventually manages to take off with a number of the elders on board. Looking over the cast, you likely not recognize names that most of us who don't follow Aussie films know; some of us may know Bruce Spence from the Mad Max films who plays a geologist, but there are many Australian Aborigines. A poignant moment is seen in the court room scene where one Aborigine rises to speak and the judge asks for a translation, only to be told the men is called "the Mute" because there's no one left who understands his tribal language.

The overall effect of the film is wonderfully Herzog with a surrealistic portrayal of the clash of old and new, progress versus conservation and fraught with cultural miscommunication. I really recommend this film for your viewing.


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