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David Gulpilil, Walkabout, 1971 classic by Nicolas Roeg

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Uploaded on May 28, 2007

Very few films achieve a kind of subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure.

Considered a cult favorite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film is about two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young Aboriginal man played by David Gulpilil.

Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Roeg had always intended it to be a cautionary morality tale, in which the limitations and restrictions of civilization become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the Aboriginal man's assistance. They become 'primitives' themselves, if only temporarily, while the young Aboriginal man proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilization. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation.

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