Rolf de Heer has received an extended standing ovation at Cannes for his Un Certain Regard nominated film Charlie’s Country, starring David Gulpilil.
The film that was co-written by the director and the the acclaimed indigenous actor has also received rave reviews from international press.
This is the fourth film de Heer has shown as Official Selection at Cannes and the third time he has worked with Gulpilil, who also starred in Ten Canoes and The Tracker.
Charlie’s Country is the story of Blackfella Charlie (Gulpilil) who is getting old and cranky. Rather than standby and see his community damaged by government intervention, Charlie takes off to live ‘the old way’.
Variety said of the film and Gulpilil: “Since his 1971 debut at 16 in Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout, Gulpilil has developed into an actor capable of mischievousness and gravitas, often within the same shot. His well-publicised bouts with alcoholism and the law haven’t significantly tarnished his reputation, and represent the embodiment of the societal tensions addressed in the film. So, too, the Dutch-born de Heer has built a solid reputation as a filmmaker not so much fascinated as moved to modest yet probing action by social friction and injustice (his earliest major success, 1993’s Bad Boy Bubby, was the first of four of his films to be selected by Cannes).”
Gulpili was also praised by the Hollywood Reporter: “David Gulpilil to a large extent has been the defining face onscreen of the Indigenous Australian. Now 60, the Aboriginal actor and traditional dancer teams for the third time with director Rolf de Heer – following The Tracker and Ten Canoes – on Charlie’s Country, inarguably the most personal project of their collaboration.”
Charlie’s Country has also been screened at the Adelaide Festival in 2013. It will open in selected Australian cinemas on July 17, 2014.