Ten Canoes


FORBIDDEN LOVE IN AUSTRALIA’S MYTHICAL PAST 

AUSTRALIA
2006, M (Moderate violence, naturalistic nudity), 91MINS
DIRECTOR ROLF DE HEER
SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM
DRAMA
Yolngu and English with English subtitles 

Sat 25 Feb, 4.30pm
Cast: Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, David Gulpilil (voice) 

“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…” David Gulpilil’s voiceover breaks into a chuckle, then adds; “no, not like that.” Swooping over lush forested swamp land in Northern Territory, we’re shown a time before Western contact, when men gathered magpie goose eggs in bark canoes. The story concerns a man whose younger brother desires his attractive young wife. To instruct the young brother of how to behave, the man tells of a time when a similar love triangle risked a war. Following the success of The Tracker, de Heer mused on what could be done to make further progress with Indigenous Australian stories on screen. Ten Canoes is the extraordinary result; an extensive collaboration between de Heer, David Gulpilil and the people of Gulpilil’s native Yolngu Country in Arafura Swamp, Arnhem Land. In its authentic voicing of Indigenous culture through stories, its playfulness and it first-ever use of an Indigenous language in a feature film, Ten Canoes is unique in cinema. Eleven years since initial release, it stands as a landmark in the perception of Australia of film.

The screening will be introduced by Rolf de Heer

‘To watch this movie is to enter into a whole new language of symbols and meaning, the likes of which I have rarely encountered in cinema.’ VILLAGE VOICE

PIAF Conversations: Rolf de Heer & Molly Reynolds discuss making films with Fenella Kernebone, Sunday 26 February. Free to film ticket holders.

Film print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia