ten-canoes-mar-12thDavid Gulpilil (Walkabout, Crocodile Dundee) narrates the story following the Aboriginal tradition of oral story telling – ‘Once upon a time in a land far far away…’. This English narration apart, the film is in native languages with English subtitles. Central to the film are the legends which have sprung from a series of revered photographs taken by the anthropologist David Thomson in the 1930s. The stories are funny and bawdy depictions of Aboriginal life. The film, shot in naturalistic style, brings Aboriginal culture to life without stereotype or voyeurism. (Cert 15)
Dirs: Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr 88 mins Australia 2006


“Visually, the most beautiful event of the season.”

“Really, really good film – I’d like to watch it at least five times! The highlight of the season.”

“Simple and charming”

“Fascinating and beautiful”

“Beautiful and funny – nice light touch”

“Beautiful photography – an amusing and gripping yarn”

“Very beautiful to watch – delightful tale”

“Great story, beautifully told”

“Original, humorous and well photographed”

“Beautiful photography”

“Beautiful photography – what a lovely touch and very convincing, although (with) such an extra-ordinary setting and (extra-ordinary) characters.”

“Excellent photography – enjoyable film”

“Thoroughly enjoyed it – thought the cinematography (was) beautiful”

“Wonderful photography – a glimpse of the Stone Age. It was clever of the film makers to preserve the slow pace of narration but keep us interested by joking about the slowness. The story showed the trouble a community can get into without the leadership of a District Council!”

“You don’t get many stories like that!”

“Slow burn at first but absolutely entrancing. By the end (it was) certainly not your run-of-the-mill film!”

“The easy bit was to give it an A. There was so much (more) besides a good story – the anthropology and the background of beautiful vegetation.”

“Slow but rewarding”

“An innovative way [example] of cinematic storytelling”

“Slow but beautiful photography (and) a solidly impressive story”

“Leisured and interesting but needed a bit more editing”

“Nearly as slow as Peter and Pavla but far more interesting. Was there a touch of patronising the ‘noble savage’?”

“Only intermittently gripping. Obviously the Czechs and the Aborigines have much in common, including poor sub-titles! Great photography but give me an Icelandic saga any day.”

“Maybe he should have chosen a more interesting story!”

“A bit slow but fascinating. Wonderful landscape photography.”

“The story told was too lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng! Great pictures, though.”

“When we do slow, we do really, (really) slow !! A unique film.”


A:13, B:17, C:7, D:2, E:0 to give 76%