Look no further for an illustration of how film can fruitfully articulate a fragmented national psyche. Charlie’s Country conveys a plethora of perspectives with astonishing ambition. The writers squeeze meaning from every word, lending a sense of immensity sustained by stunning cinematography. If pathos becomes marginally monotonous or the filmmaking slightly too obtrusive at the climax, this is easily forgiven in light of emotional clout.
There is also understated charm through painstakingly embraced mundane moments and humour. David Gulpilil offers an enchantingly measured rendition of a complex and charismatic character. The camera and audience rarely look away from his extraordinary face.
Charlie’s Country is passionate, beautiful and bittersweet as it expresses a poignant tale of vulnerability, rage and sorrow. At the core of its emotional power is Gulpilil with an unequivocally dazzling and mesmeric performance.
CAST: David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford
DIRECTOR: Rolf de Heer
WRITERS: Rolf de Heer, David Gulpilil
SYNOPSIS: Charlie (Gulpilil) lives on the edge of white society in a rundown Aboriginal community, navigating prejudice, disregard and constraining white laws. After making the decision to abscond and live according to the old ways in his ‘country’, a series of events lead him to return to his community, unfulfilled but wiser and with an opportunity for solace.