10 Canoes

If you like your films to be a bit different and don’t mind having to read subtitles (part of it is in Aboriginal) this is probably one for you.  Cleverly using black and white and colour this film is narrated in English and takes us back in time twice to hear the tales of Dayindi and Yeeralparil.

Dayindi (his tale is in black and white) is heading out on his first goose hunt which starts with making ten bark canoes, before heading off to collect goose eggs and hopeful also get a goose or two.  For the Australian Aborigines the spirits of their ancestors are still alive and are a part of an Aborigine’s “dreaming” bringing life to the stories that been have told through the ages.  Dayindi has taken a fancy to one of his elder brother’s wives and the brother knowing this tells the ancient story of Yeeralparil (his tale is in colour).  This tale is about a young warrior taking a fancy to the young third wife of an older warrior and the consequences that ensue, due to the old Aboriginal customs and laws.  If I was to sum up the message of the film in a few words they would be – be careful what you wish for.

The story is gentle and humorous with some of the actors playing both sets of characters and it is set deep in Australia with stunning scenery which adds to an almost primeval feeling to the tale.  This film, in my view, is a masterpiece and one I would highly recommend it.


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