I wanted another David Gulpilil film after last wave. turns out he is only the narrator in this one, though he is incredibly prominent. Interesting that the directors of both films said they were based in one way or another on Gulpilil’s ideas or their relationship with him.
Issues of race again hung over this for me at the beginning, knowing this was a white director making a film about aboriginals that was using aboriginal voiceover in an authorial position. I was worried he was using them to endorse his outsider perspective, but those concerns mostly went away, perhaps not justifiably, when the movie sucked me in completely. What a fun film – a very good balance of tone. The humor and self consciousness undercuts some of the possibly pretentious anthropology elements without being disrespectful or feeling like they are hiding behind it.
I still love this movie, but it isn’t as immediate of an experience for me as it used to be.
The first two times I saw it in the theater (I’ve somehow seen it 4 times in that setting) were stronger experiences because of who I was with. The first time was a male friend and the second a female friend and both relationships were strained at the time for different reasons, but basically I felt like I had fucked things up beyond repair. The longing and awkwardness of the men in the film was a perfect reflection of how I was feeling and somehow watching it with those people felt cathartic, as if the film was able to acknowledge to each of us what we were unable.
Watching it will always be tied to those two people for me, but luckily I suppose, those feelings have been muted with age and resolution.