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Walkabout

  • Directed by Nicholas Roeg
  • Australia/United Kingdom, 1971, 100 mins., English

Abandoned by their father in the Australian Outback, a teenaged girl (Jenny Agutter) and her young brother (Luc Roeg) wander through the desert in search of civilization. Aid comes in the form of an aboriginal youth (David Gulpilil) on walkabout who doesn’t so much steer them back on course as much as exemplify how to navigate survival in the wild. Director Nicholas Roeg employs his trademark time-defying, intercutting techniques to weave a nonlinear story that conveys a dream unfolding under the unyielding sun. Out of theatrical circulation and unavailable on home video for 25 years until the mid-1990s, Walkabout is Roeg’s masterpiece, a crystalline observation of dominant society coming face-to-face with the “other” and finding itself both less capable and in need of mentorship, a damning indictment of civilization and all its presumptions. “The movie is not the heartwarming story of how the girl and her brother are lost in the outback and survive because of the knowledge of the resourceful aborigine. It is about how all three are still lost at the end of the film–more lost than before, because now they are lost inside themselves instead of merely adrift in the world.” – Roger Ebert.

Genres: Adventure, Drama