Ten Canoes | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ten Canoes 

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Inspired by the early-20th-century photographs of anthropologist Donald Thomson, this collaboration between a Western filmmaker and the native people of Ramingining is an impressive achievement of ethnographic cinema. Director Rolf de Heer teams with David Gulpilil, the star of his 2002 film The Tracker, for this hypnotic journey across time and the Australian outback. Gulpilil narrates the story of a young aborigine (his son Jamie Gulpilil) on a hunting trip with tribal elders who's told an ancestral tale about a youth who covets one of his brother's three wives. The particular and universal aspects of myth converge in an often humorous drama that illuminates the indigenous Yolngu people yet also echoes creation stories from other cultures. In English and subtitled Ganalbingu. 92 min. a Music Box.

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