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 ...
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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.
Traces the pilgrimage of John Anderson, an average guy with a passion for jazz, from his home in outback Western Australia to the jazz clubs of Paris, to meet his idol, jazz trumpeter Billy... See full summary »
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 »
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
In this sci-fi adventure a gorgeous alien woman is sent to Earth by mistake from the planet Epsilon. Landing in the Australian outback she meets a surveyor and they cross the continent ... See full summary »
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 realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife. So, over a few days and several trips to hunt and gather, Minygululu tells Dayindi a story set in the time of their ancestors when a stranger came to the village and disrupted the lives of a serious man named Ridjimiraril, his three wives, and his younger brother Yeeralparil who had no wife and liked to visit his youngest sister-in-law. Through stories, can values be taught and balance achieved?Written by
The canoes in the film were made according to original tribal methods, using directions from tribal elders who had not made them for some fifty years. See more »
[all walking in a line]
[all stop and turn]
That one is Djigirr. Djigirr talk too much, but maybe he heard something.
I refuse to walk at the end. Someone ahead keeps farting.
Not me. Not me.
It's you again. You're always so silent. Silent but deadly. Admit it.
Alright, it's me.
You're rotten inside.
I'm rotten inside.
[...] See more »
There are currently 3 versions of the film:
(1) the Yolngu languages dialogue version with English subtitles & narration;
(2) the Yolngu languages dialogue & storytelling version in Mandalpingu with English subtitles
(3) the Yolngu language only version without any subtitles
This story begins with an aerial flyover of Arnhem Land in northern Austalia. A narrator comes on saying that he is going to tell a story, his story. His story starts with the recounting of a tale about his ancestors of a few generations back who are making canoes to traverse a crocodile-filled swamp in search of goose eggs. Within that tale a wise older man is telling another, somewhat parallel, tale to his younger brother dating back many generations to "the ancients." In a clever plotting device the ancestor's tale is shown in black and white while the ancient's tale is shown in color. This technique has the dual effect of allowing director Rolf de Heer to duplicate scenes from black and white photographs taken in the area by an anthropologist in the 1930s (photographs that motivated the making of this film), as well as helping the viewer keep the stories straight.
The cast consists of a few dozen modern day aboriginals playing the parts in the two stories. They try to capture the reality of the times portrayed, and you can believe that this was the way it could have been thousands of years ago for a tribe of early humans. The earlier Astralians have their own customs and language and the cast speaks in their native language, with English subtitles. I kept thinking of how the basic emotions driving the stories are still with us--fear, jealousy, lust, love, trust, distrust, pride, humor, courage, loyalty, honor. The culture presented is indeed not mine, but it is perfectly understandable. Sorcerers keep the tribe stirred up and mystified with special knowledge of "magic," just as modern religions do (with equal effectiveness). There are laws that must be obeyed, even if unwritten. The young men relish showing prowess in hunting and war making. A creator is deemed the prime mover. Marital relationships are not always harmonious, especially if polygamous. And so on.
It appears that no matter how it manifests itself a culture will wrap itself around basic human emotions and desires. It would not be a stretch to recast these stories in a modern setting.
The photography of the landscape is beautiful and sensuous; it contributes greatly to the stories by showing what an intimate relationship early peoples had with the land and its fauna.
This movie helps us better appreciate where we came from and what we are.
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