Precious Bodily Fluids

Walkabout

Walkabout6

A really beautiful film, one that does what cinema does best. It uses images – both cinematographic and photographic – to create a world and an aura and something much more than just a mood or a feeling. Long shots and close-ups are “juxtaposed,” except in a way that sustains their balance, their harmony. (Why should juxtaposing always imply “opposites”?) What is a landscape without an insect? Dropping other names like Lean, Antonioni, and Bertolucci is probably standard regarding a movie like Walkabout. Colors aren’t just depicted but somehow rendered in all their earthy textures. The “story” begins where so many of the Neorealist (and neo-Neorealist) films ended, with an inexplicable but all too real kind of self-inflicted tragedy. Lawrence of Arabia begins with its concluding tragedy, but Walkabout begins with its only tragedy. An innocence is being posited here, and perhaps not unfairly. Certainly the hippy element is clear. A reverse fall into sin takes place and gives birth to a kind of Eden, though the new paradise is located in a fallen environment. Once tamed, though, the Outback becomes a perfect world. The girl still seeks an escape, not realizing until years later the irony of it all. The boy, the less tainted and stained of the two, still being taught British manners and forced to wear his suit while trudging through the sand, integrates his old world with his new one and only gives incidental concern for what has brought about their walkabout. Mores, customs, conventions are not fully abandoned until the retrospective. The Aboriginal man is the anti-serpent from Genesis. When she refuses to give in to his freedom (the anti-temptation, the anti-sin), he hangs himself on the tree of knowledge, arms outspread as if on a cross. His death redeems and liberates her.

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This entry was published on November 16, 2009 at 8:59 am. It’s filed under 1970s Cinema, Australian/New Zealand Film, British Film and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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