Review of Walkabout

Walkabout (1971)
seeing walkabout again after 35 years was amazing
16 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
what is life changing about this film is you get to experience the life of an aborigine in his natural environment. with no help from anything except the land itself and thousands of years of culture behind him, he hunts lizards and kangaroos with handmade spears straightened by his teeth. he drinks water right out of the dirt with a straw stuck in the mud. its amazing. and it changes you. you see as if for the first time, the power and the credibility of what the native aborigine represents. he doesn't need clothes, or money. he just needs to be a part of his world, which he is at total peace with. what could be more sane than that.

juxtaposed against a father taking his children out for a picnic in the bush who cracks up and commits suicide, leaving his children stranded. in their innocence they actually do pretty well for themselves, coming upon an oasis, but it dries up the next day. thats when the aborigine arrives.

the children see him as a life saver and even though they don't speak the same language, the little boy in his desperation points to his mouth and says glug glug glug and the aborigine laughs hysterically and goes back to the dried up oasis and starts sucking water out of the ground with a straw, then gives them a drink.

so begins the journey where the children learn the ways of the aborigine. but they are not aborigine. they are very Australian, at least the girl is. eventually the aborigine brings them closer and closer to civilization, which seems absolutely barbaric by comparison. the aborigine does not kill for sport, and he uses everything and takes nothing more than he needs. the Australians, kill for the enjoyment of killing. finally the aborigine sees a road and touches it with his foot, he sees a steer and tries to kill it but is almost run over by some white hunters, who kill just to leave the animals rot.

this vision of depravity so terribly affects the aborigine, so devastates him that he goes almost mad. he returns back to the hut that he brought the girl to, possibly out of his love for her, and he dances a dance of desire for her. the girl gets scared and starts to hide from him in the shack. you get the real sense of houses containing shadows that cut people off from the direct experience of one another that they had when they were out in the wilderness under the stars.

he dances and dances, but she ignores him, rebuffs his gentle advances. she falls asleep and the next day the boy finds that the aborigine is not moving. he is up in a tree, apparently dead.

the girl and boy make their way back to civilization, which is horrifying. the movie abruptly ends with the girl older now thinking back to the time she had in the wilderness.

i am not giving this movie justice. just suffice to say it breaks your heart. you feel the loss of the aborigine. the impact is tremendous because this is real. he lost so much. yet the world doesn't seem to care. why in gods name cant we care about what we have done to the people who have given us the gift of showing us how to live in harmony with nature. happy. without doubt. full of joy. we cannot improve on this. man living in harmony with nature is perfection. what can we say about our own civilization, filled with suffering and people preying upon each other. our world is hell compared with what the aborigine has in his hands, or had. we made sure that our misery became his misery.

as the earth is used up this movie is more and more relevant. but we have become so crippled we cant even cry for what has gone, never to return. what a loss! Why don't we see it? the innocence is gone. we killed it. we killed it. we killed it.
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