Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ten Canoes

Last night was full of treats, an embarrassment of riches if you will! I met up with Morgan straight after work (treat number 1), and we had an early bite to eat at Happy Chef in Newtown before heading to the cinema to see the film Ten Canoes by Rolf der Heer and Peter Djigirr (treat number 2).

Oh and there was a Boysenberry choc top ice cream thrown in to the mix too (which understandably was treat number 3).

It's quite a rare gem of a film and a really different cinema experience. Filmed entirely with a cast of indigenous Australian actors and in the Yolgnu Matha language of Arnhem Land, with English narration, it tells a traditional story in the traditional language. It's about the telling of a tale, in this instance an education tale told by an elder to instruct a younger member of the tribe. A simple story told in a complex way.

The 'present day' aspects of the film are set before the coming of white men, with the flashback segments of the story set many generations before, so the setting portrays the traditional lifestyle that most non-indigenous Australians would have limited awareness of. What I loved about it though is that the personalities and humour of the characters come through wonderfully, with the traditional language adding to the experience. The charismatic narration by David Gulpilil also adds to the enjoyment and humour of the film. Aside from the humour, the film has a great look too, with beautiful tight close-ups and sweeping panoramic shots of the Arafura Swamp region of northern Australia.

Here is an early article about the film from a few years ago, when filming was about to commence. This review from the Hollywood Reporter has some interesting factoids about the film.

On the way home Morgan and I had a close encounter with a friendly and very inquisitive possum (treat number 4). I tried to get a picture of him but had trouble focussing in the dark. Morgan held up his mobile to snap a few pics, and got some pretty good ones as the possum reached out for the phone.

A great night.


Michael Guy said..., was there any teen nudity in this film? I'm just saying...

The Other Andrew said...

Teen nudity? Um, nope. Lots of nudity though, but many of them are very much 'elders'. The nudity wasn't tittilating, just sort of natural.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oooh I'd really like to see Ten Canoes. didn't actually know it had been released... heard an interview with Rolf on 2BL not long ago. lucky you for all those treats! :)