This will rank high on my year end list. This had played for a long time before I finally decided to see it and I'm glad that I did.
The film does a remarkable job creating the feeling of a folk tale that has been passed down from generation to generation. I was disappointed by 2001's Atanarjuat that tried to create a similar vibe as it tried to recreate an Inuit folk tale. Ten Canoes was a lot more successful if no other reason, it looked great as compared to the crap DV look of Atanarjuat.
The film is about an Aboriginal tribe and is set in the distant past with present day narration. The film opens with men out on a trek to gather bark to build canoes. The young brother of the tribe's elder has a crush on the youngest of the elder's three wives. The elder then goes on to tell his younger brother a story set in the tribe's distant past about a similar situation.
The story is enthralling, humorous, and completely fascinating. It deftly intercuts between the distant past and the distant distant past, the story within the story. There's stories about how babies are made (you've never heard this one before), magic, spear throwing, magpie geese, an engaging narrator, and one tribe making fun of another for covering up their penises with cloth because they don't. In other words, this film is completely memorable.
As a side note, this is the first ever feature length film shot in the Aboriginal language of Ganalbingu. Interesting, no?
Directed by Rolf de Heer
2006, Year of U.S. Release: 2007
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