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Blackfella Charlie is out of sorts. The intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws now. So Charlie takes off, to ... See full summary »
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An extraordinary film, brought lovingly to life by both director and actors
It is worth noting that Luís Sepulveda (the author of the novel upon which the film was based), upon meeting Rolf De Heer, grabbed him by the shoulders and thanked him for having brought the spirit of his novel alive onscreen. The nuanced performances of Hugo Weaving, Timothy Spall, Cathy Tyson and
Victor Bottenbley are as memorable as that of Richard Dreyfus, whose deeply-felt and brilliant portrayal of the old man of the title ('Antonio Bolivar') must be a late- career defining moment. It could so easily have degenerated into yet another bit of macho chest-thumpin' hunt-in-the-jungle fluff. However, the beautifully evocative cinematography and sensitive direction save it from such triteness. Highlights include the Mr De Heer's intimate close-ups of the characters, giving the audience a window into their personal space; and the scenes of Antonio Bolivar reading his beloved books by lamplight as he relishes each painstakingly spelt-out word and ruminates on the meaning of each hard-won sentence before moving on
to the next. It's the picture of a man for whom the mere act of reading is still a joyous miracle to be savoured. A nice little bit of synchronicity: Victor Bottenbley, the Dutch actor who plays Nushino, was indeed born in Surinam, which he left as a small child. When he
arrived in French Guiana to begin the shoot, he discovered that some of the other actors were of the tribe of his mother's people. A wonderful homecoming indeed. This year saw the first two preview screenings in Australia.
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