29 May 2011


The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker, (attributed)

Well here we go again.  Grab your oar, we are on the stream of consciousness. It's all because there was a movie that I had heard about but never seen until Saturday:  Walkabout is an Australian film from an era in the 1970s when several of the films were rather mystical.  Ones you may have heard of would include The Last Wave or Picnic at Hanging Rock.   This all led into a massive Google fest.  You can read all the links at your leisure or just enjoy the movie review.

Walkabout stars two actors that are iconic in Australian and British films for vastly different reasons and this was the first or one of the first for both of them.    If you have seen an image of an Aboriginal actor or dancer in the last 40 years, the chances are it was David Gulipil and despite a distinguished acting career of several decades, the young images of Jenny Agutter mark a standard of teen aged perfection for this time period in the beautifully done nude swimming scenes.

Walkabout starts in a modern city and a father driving his children out to the wilderness for a picnic.  Then it takes a very strange twist as he attempts to kill his children and after they run away, sets fire to the car and commits suicide.  This leaves the children stranded and completely separated from civilization in a totally foreign and dangerous world.  The contrast between the modern world they have left and the natural world they have entered are the center of this film.  This is a movie with little dialog at first  because energy is just consumed by the need to survive and after meeting up with an Aboriginal boy on walkabout because of the language differences.  These silences are filled with amazing cinematography of the land and it's plants and animals in all stages of life.  You have no trouble understanding the relationships within the movie because of these creative images as the director moves between the human beings and their surroundings.

Even if you find fault with the obvious message of the exploitation of the natural world and cultures by an invading civilization, the dichotomy between the images of the city and the truly stunning Australian landscapes provide the best reason to watch this movie.   I won't spoil the denouement that brings a somewhat unsettling end other than it will leave you thinking.  The movie closes with a small bit of poetry that I again had to Google to be sure of the source.  As it turns out the whole 63 poem work is available online and I've provided a link should you wish to read this masterpiece by A. E. Houseman.

INTO my heart on 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.


Linda said...

This movie rings such a bell with me but I'm sure I haven't seen it. Maybe I saw a preview of it at some point?

Mimi Lenox said...

I love the way your stream winds a trail of nostalgia and intellect on this blog. No one does it better.

Looks like a great film.
LOVE the poetry. Thank you for sharing.