Charlie’s Country

Contemporary World Cinema

SIFF Says:

Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil made his screen debut in Nic Roeg’s Walkabout at the age of 16. Since then, he has limned indelible characters in numerous films. Now 60, the actor has teamed with director Rolf de Heer for a third time (after 2002’s The Tracker and 2006’s Ten Canoes) to co-write and star in a hypnotically beautiful film that parallels his own troubled life and epitomizes the cultural dislocation that aboriginal people face in contemporary Australia. Title character Charlie lives in an alcohol-free community in Arnhem Land, Australia, and it is more than clear that his people’s traditional ways have been all but snuffed out by his country’s government, personified here by a friendly but literal-minded local cop Luke (Luke Ford). When Luke confiscates Charlie’s weapons (including a makeshift spear), however, the Indigenous Australian man boldly sets out for the Outback in an attempt to “go bush” and reclaim his roots, soon finding that the terrain and other fellow travelers and transients may be too treacherous for his aging body and spirit. Melancholy and unflinching yet lyrical and hopeful, Charlie’s Country is a semi-autobiographical tale about finding oneself, no matter what age.

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Film Credits
Rolf de Heer
David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Jennifer Budukpuduk Gaykamangu, Luke Ford, Peter Minygululu
SIFF 2015