"At once a wry fable about jealousy and desire, a fascinating ethnographic document and a highly enjoyable nudge-in-the-ribs shaggy dog story." – Time Out
Long ago, stories were told. Ten Canoes depicts a story within a story, in which a young man's (Jamie Gulpilil, David's son) lust for the village elder's wife is juxtaposed with a parallel story from antiquity. Over the course of the latter fable, a woman's disappearance and the conjecture it provokes lead a tribe to the brink of conflict.
A cautionary tale laced with a cheeky sense of humour, Ten Canoes is one of cinema's few authentic depictions of pre-invasion Australian life. Rolf de Heer (The Tracker, MIFF 2002) and co-director Peter Djigirr collaborated closely with the residents of Ramingining, who also play most of the roles, while David Gulpilil narrates the film in witty and idiosyncratic fashion.
"Once again Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer goes where others fear to tread … a really, really beautiful film and a very important film." – At the Movies