Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Anthropology and entertainment are marvelously married in Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes. The first feature in an Australian Aboriginal language feels authentic to the core as it tells a cautionary tale set 1,000 years ago.
Village Voice
To watch this movie (shot in breathtaking widescreen by cinematographer Ian Jones) is to enter into a whole new language of symbols and meaning, the likes of which I have rarely encountered in cinema outside of the African tribal films of Ousmane Sembene.
The Hollywood Reporter
In telling this ancient story with style and humor, de Heer and his Aboriginal collaborators promote cultural understanding and acceptance by stealth, if you will.
There is nothing more enthralling than a good yarn, and Ten Canoes interweaves two versions of the same story, one filmed in black and white and set a thousand years ago, and an even older one, filmed in color and set in a mythic, prehistoric past.
The A.V. Club
Like a lot of folk tales, Ten Canoes peters out into something more prosaic than profound, but it flows like water, and has a deceptively gentle pull that proves hard to escape.
Chicago Reader
Inspired by anthropologist Donald Thomson's early-20th-century photographs, this collaboration between a Western filmmaker and the native people of Ramingining is an impressive achievement of ethnographic cinema.
It's a fascinating immersion within a highly ritualized Stone Age oral culture that, at least according to tradition, existed almost unchanged for thousands of years before the European arrival.
Ten Canoes is a rare and valuable movie, providing fascinating insight into another culture without pandering or being stuffy. Seek it out -- swim if you have to.
Funny, perceptive, bawdy, tragic and philosophical, pretty much everything a viewer -- or a listener -- could ask for.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
A rollicking good story set a millennium ago among Australian aborigines, Ten Canoes is one of those cultural-building exercises that genuinely entertains.

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