Thursday, March 18, 2010


Dir: Nicholas Roeg, 1971,
Australia (10*)

This beautiful nature story starts when a father abandons his two children (Jenny Agutter's first film?) in the Australian outback and kills himself. The children are found by an Aboriginal youth (David Gulpilil) on his rite of manhood, a walkabout, where one must survive six months alone in the wilderness. The story follows the three as they all fight for survival in the outback, while the white children learn the ancient wisdom that has allowed the aborigines to survive in this environment for at least 50 thousand years.

This adventure film, by British cinematographer Roeg (Performance), is simply beautiful and not like any other, a parable of urban man in the wilderness. The closing poem is one of the most beautiful in film history.

This beautiful film set a precedent for Aussie films to follow using Aborigines as a subject. Two more that make an excellent trilogy with this adventure are Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), and Australia (2007), which both deal with the "Stolen Generations" of mixed-blood children taken from their parents in the interest of "racial protection" of the Aborigines.

This poem was read as an epilogue at the end of the film. It is the complete Poem 40 from A Shropshire Lad by Alfred Edward Housman.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Complete text of the sixty-three poem cycle at Project Gutenberg


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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