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THE TRACKER

Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2002)

Director: Rolf de Heer

The Australian outback, 1922... four men relentlessly track a Fugitive, an Aboriginal man accused of murder. Nominally in charge of the expedition is the Fanatic (Gary Sweet), calculating and complex. The Follower (Damon Gameau) is new to the frontier, a greenhorn. The Veteran (Grant Page) is along for the ride, placing thoughts before action. But all three whites are dependent on the mysterious figure of the black Tracker (David Gulpilil). When an interrogation of some bush blacks turns into a massacre, paranoia sets in, and the quesitons becomes not, will the Fugitive be caught, but what is black and what is white and who is leading whom?

With The Tracker, Australian writer-director-producer Rolf de Heer has crafted a film triumph. At the height of a career of internationally acclaimed films - including Bad Boy Bubby (1993), Dance Me to My Song (MIFF 1998) and The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (MIFF 2001) - de Heer proves his cinematic range with a film equal parts historic drama and metaphor for a nation. Always pushing conventions, de Heer's touch is clear: dialogue is minimal, songs performed by Archie Roach heighten and subvert the tensions, and the violence is portrayed in a series of paintings by acclaimed artist Peter Coad, especially commissioned for the film. Outstanding performances and a bone-chilling script - this mythical journey is a film for our times.

Rolf de Heer was born in Holland, and has lived in Australia since his youth. He worked for seven years at the ABC before attending the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 1977. He made his directorial debut in 1984 with Tail of a Tiger, followed by a line of locally and internationally acclaimed films including Incident at Raven's Gate (1987), Dingo (1990), Bad Boy Bubby (1993), Epsilon (1995), The Quiet Room (1995), Dance Me To My Song (MIFF 1998) and The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (MIFF 2001).

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