A story within a story. In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It's a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and ... See full summary »
Rolf de Heer,
It's 1922; somewhere in Australia. When a Native Australian man is accused of murdering a white woman, three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are given the mission of ... See full summary »
"Twelve Canoes" is a series of short films that paint a compelling portrait of the people, history, culture and place of the Yolngu people whose homeland is the Arafura Swamp of north-central Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
The wheelchair-bound Julia (Heather Rose), who cannot walk, feed or dress herself, communicates via her computerized electronic voice synthesizer. Her sympathetic lesbian sister Rix (Rena ... See full summary »
We all live on the same planet, under one sun which nurtures and renews our unique and common hopes for the future. No matter how much we differ from each other in color, ethnicity and ... See full summary »
Bubby has spent thirty years trapped in the same small room, tricked by his mother. One day, he manages to escape, and, deranged and naive in equal measures, his adventure into the modern and nihilistic life begins.
Rolf de Heer
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 live the old way, but in so doing sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser. Written by
Cannes Film Festival
Australia's official submission into this year's Best Foreign Language category at the Academy Awards, famed director Rolf de Heer's raw, uncompromising and impressively beautiful film is easily the most accomplished and important tale to come from our shores in quite some time and acts as a very personal journey for one of our country's most recognisable actors, David Gulpilil.
To understand the power of Charlie's Country and the telling nature of its tale, one must look into how the film eventuated and what it harboured for Gulpilil in particular. Despite his success as an actor that started off in Nic Roeg's Walkabout in 1971, Gulpilil had found himself on hard times, the victim as sadly many indigenous people face in the country of alcohol abuse that saw him incarcerated in a federal penitentiary. Friends for many years after their collaborations in 2002's The Tracker and 2006's Ten Canoes (Australian film's worthy of being tracked down) de Heer visited Gulpilil in jail where the seeds of Charlies Country were formed when Gulpilil expressed a great desire to once more work with his friend and director. From there a story that was close to Gulpilil's heart began to be formed and it's where the quiet understated power of de Heer's work stems from.
With a mere look, or with the camera following his every move through the vast beauty of the Australian outback or the more scary surrounds of Darwin, Gulpilil commands the screen and de Heer controls this wonderfully, not at all afraid to let Gulpilil's face tell us all we need to know. In what is undoubtedly a match between the actor and the real man, Gulpilil inhabits this man Charlie with a grace and understanding as he struggles to come to grips with his mother country slowly but surely coming under more influence from the white man. This small scale story of one man's trials and tribulations masks a much larger overall problem Australia has at its core regarding the treatment of our indigenousness people and a failure to properly combine the old and the new without losing the connection to the land and customs that for thousands of years have been integral to the culture of these people. All these elements within Charlie's Country play out in such a manner that never becomes overbearing, for there is subtle humour here (water buffalo anyone?) and grace from all involved that gives Charlie's Country not only a heart but a recognisable humanity.
It shouldn't be surprising that Charlie's Country is a finely crafted and effective movie, for de Heer has long shown his ability to create memorably moving films and his previous collaborations with Gulpilil are some of the finest ever made in this country concerning indigenous culture. From Gulpilil's award worthy turn (which was rewarded with a Best Actor win at this year's Cannes Un Certain Regard festival), Graham Tardif's beautiful piano score and de Heers professional direction, this is Australian filmmaking and storytelling at its best and a moving portrait of modern day life in the harsh realities of the outback and the lives our indigenous people live in particular.
4 and a half hand crafted spears out of 5
For more movie reviews and opinions check out -
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?