That the girl and her brother learn to embrace a lifestyle that is more organically rooted in nature? It probably had not happened since movies were first invented and has not happened since in commercial theatrical releases. There are also some very nice techniques used in this film - for example the screen wipes used as the small boy relates a story to the older boy. The director emphasises the unrealised sexual tension by explicitly marrying shots of both the teenagers with suggestive trees in the form of intertwined human limbs, as well as providing us with a diverting interlude involving a group of meteorologists. There is something subtly wrong with the family, but the film doesn't articulate it, apart from a suggestive shot of a bug that does not belong indoors. Because of their experiences, things are never going to be the same again.
If the hope of a? Roeg sets this coming-of-age story within the larger theme of the destruction of the natural landscape by humankind. Води ги на безлюдно място, внезапно изважда пистолет и започва да стреля по тях. His camera here shows the creatures of the outback: lizards, scorpions, snakes, kangaroos, birds. They only have with them the clothes on their backs - their school uniforms - some meagre rations of nonperishable food, a battery-powered transistor radio, the son's satchel primarily containing his toys, and a small piece of cloth they used as their picnic drop-cloth. Even if it means killing his fellow creatures. But this cultural split, of not quite knowing the other, leads to this curiosity that is more directed from the aborigine to the girl as opposed to the other way around; there's one scene in particular when they're at the house, and the two of them go between rooms, the way its shot and the body language suggests to a point that makes Antonioni look tame by comparison.
The distance of communication is one of the stronger themes Roeg presents the audience, as the kids keep talking to the aborigine Gulpilil, who says only one word of English despite their not being recognition of understanding. I would hasten to add that as well as being very pleasing to watch, enhanced by Roeg's voyeuristic use of the camera, Agutter provides a skilful performance as a prejudiced unworldly teenager, who is naively unaware of the sexuality she exudes whether naked or wearing her high cut school skirt. Roeg makes a powerful point by juxtaposing such sequences with more mundane images of a butcher in a city shop cutting meat for customers, as if to remind us of where our weekly meat actually comes from. Then it disappeared into oblivion, apparently because of quarrels over ownership, and was not seen for years; Premiere magazine put it first on its list of films that should be available on video but were not. Now the children, absurdly kitted out in their formal school uniforms, are lost and carelessly lose their provisions, except for the transistor radio with its inane babble being another illustration of how hopeless our technology is against nature. A thought provoking film shot from, and that looks at the world from, a perspective that is rarely seen in cinema. Can one honestly say she wasn't as intimidated by the nature aspects as by the human? One overlooks idiosyncracies in one's friends.
Before specifically talking about the film, I just have to ponder the following question: Why do all films that take place in the 70s feel so 70s? While they walk through the Outback, sometimes looking as though near death, they come across an Australian boy who is on his walkabout, a rite of passage into manhood where he spends months on end on his own living off the land. That's what the film's surface seems to suggest, but I think it's also about something deeper and more elusive: The mystery of communication. An urban, slightly sleazy father takes his two public school children into the outback for a picnic. Ultimately, he seems to say, we can never know each other. The girl is not interested, and the gulf between the two civilizations is not bridged.
Their largest problem is not being able to verbally communicate. Considering the fact that this movie was made in 1971, one must conclude that Roeg was a trend-setter. Once the kids set off on their journey through the Australian outback, however, then things start to gain some momentum, with photography that reminds one of the desert scene in The Good the Bad and the Ugly or, for that matter, Lawrence of Arabia, which Roeg was an photographer on. Actually only the aborigine saw her. The daughter runs with the boy away, as the father then sets the car on fire and shoots himself.
It's good enough that I'd seriously consider it to be included on a short list of films that I'd be allowed to have if stranded on a desert island. Децата бързо се разбягват в пустинята, а бащата довежда замисъла си докрай и прострелва себе си. That the aborigine learn from them about a world of high-rises and radios? Several times the movie jumps ideas, locales, movements, pacing, shots, with seemingly very little reason, but which is usually just begging to be analyzed and commented upon. Roeg's vision may be a bleak one. For my personal tastes, he went a little overboard with the freeze frames, jump cutting, radical though hardly subtle politics, and juxtaposition of jarring images. They are not photographed sentimentally. The film opens in the brick and concrete canyons of Sydney, where families live stacked above one another in condominiums.
But the same lack of exposition that Roeg tends to favor makes his film a little too incomplete. It was in answer to her question asking if he had trouble. But does the story end there? But an aborigine boy around the same age as the girl comes upon them, helps them get water, and travels along with them. The sexual, and just curious, nature of the aborigine and the girl is one of the strangest but most successful of Roeg's touches; it's never said explicitly, but it can be felt as something that builds up over the course of the film. They make a living by eating other things. This film is so painfully beautiful I thought I was going to faint whilst watching.
This style of exposition is never anybody's favorite, and it's probably for that reason that this film isn't the most well-known film out there. Man's nature remains unchanged across many platforms. Partly this is because the girl feels no need to do so: Throughout the film she remains implacably middle-class and conventional, and she regards the aborigine as more of a curiosity and convenience than a fellow spirit. Jenny Agutter is rightfully acclaimed for her mesmerizing performance and we are rewarded with an exquisite nude scene at the end. It is also genuinely erotic and frightening. Perhaps Roeg, in some small way, recognized this, thus choosing to have the Aboriginal boy speak his language and not provide us with subtitles.