While hunting for goose eggs in the crocodile-riddled swamps of the Australian Outback, an elder Aborigine recounts a cautionary story to his young companion about how their ancestral tribe was once threatened by a mysterious outsider. For all of the inherent fascination in just watching people survive in such a harsh environment, director Rolf de Heer's biggest success may be in treating his subjects like actual humans rather than artifacts: much as in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (of which this film sometimes seems like a more genteel cousin), these native people fart, cuss, and generally resist becoming stereotyped saints at every turn. The rambling, shaggy dog nature of the storytelling does admittedly get a little dozy at times (Narcalypto?), but this is really a fairly amazing achievement: an engrossing, witty cultural document that doesn't feel staid in the least. All this, plus spear fights.

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