Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gulpilil, John Meillon, Robert McDarra, Peter Carver, John Illingsworth, Hilary Bamberger, Barry Donnelly, Noeline Brown, Carlo Manchini
Written by: Edward Bond, based on a novel by James Vance Marshall
Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 100
Date: 07/01/1971

Walkabout (1971)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Aboriginal Sins

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Australian Aborigine culture, young men have a rite of passage called a "walkabout," in which they must survive on their own in the outback for a period of months. After explaining this term, Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout (1971) doesn't explain anything else, preferring the fascinating themes to emerge on their own. After a horrifying act, a man abandons his two children, a teen girl (Jenny Agutter) and her younger brother (Luc Roeg), in the outback. The boy and the girl are forced to wander, until, desperate and out of water, an Aborigine boy (David Gulpilil) saves them. A simpler film would praise the benefits of living off the land rather than living in constrained society, but Roeg shows that neither culture is fully aware of the possibilities of the world, even if they briefly cross paths. It's a beautiful, powerful film, savage and full of life.

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