Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 98
  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    9,605
    Liked
    151 times
    Film-makers on film: Kevin Macdonald on Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout



    Kevin Macdonald has filmmaking in his genes. Screenwriter Emeric Pressburger was his grandfather; his brother is Andrew Macdonald, producer of Trainspotting. In 2000, his documentary about the kidnapping of the Israeli Olympic team, One Day in September, won an Oscar. Next week, he releases Touching the Void, a dramatised account of an infamous climbing disaster in which two British men narrowly escaped death in the Peruvian Andes. It features just three characters, only reconstructed footage and next to no dialogue, but it is the most gripping film I have seen all year.



    Macdonald's choice for this slot (Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout) is a film that he explicitly mined for ideas and techniques for Touching the Void. One is fiction and the other fact, but there are clear parallels between the two. Roeg's 1971 film - his first as a solo director - tracks two English children abandoned by their suicidal father in the Australian outback. Marching through the desert in their school uniforms, they struggle to find sustenance, until they meet an aborigine boy on ritual "walkabout" away from his tribe. Like Touching the Void, it is a picaresque survival story; a portrait of human beings lost in an alien landscape.



    "Walkabout was one of the films I showed to my editor and director of photography when we were planning Touching the Void, to see how Roeg shot the landscape," explains Macdonald. "But it's also one of my favourite films. Nic Roeg is one of the great directors. I interviewed him once for a documentary and he struck me as very inarticulate. His articulacy is purely visual - in his early films he developed an entire new language."



    This language is an ambiguous, elliptical form. Nothing in Walkabout is clear, from the feelings of the three children to the passing of time. The narrative appears to be linear, but is intercut with dream-like sequences of action that has already occurred, or flashes of city life in Adelaide, the lost children's home. Even the sound is a disconcerting swirl of forensic noise. The viewer is never sure what is going on - we don't even learn the protagonists' names.



    "It's hard to talk about Walkabout because its strength is how it makes you feel - a very subtle thing," says Macdonald. "Roeg's chopped-up editing style is the kind of thing that can feel very mannered, but it works on a very emotional level. The beautiful, flashing images have symbolic value.



    "As a piece of photography, too, Walkabout is extraordinary. Roeg is a genius with the camera. He frames things in a very particular way, using very wide-angle lenses or depicting something very close up on one side of the frame. Superficially, his style really belongs to the early 1970s. Kubrick used similar techniques in Clockwork Orange (1971), but with him it always feels so forced. With Roeg it's psychologically acute."



    It has been argued that the film's message - a hippyish assertion of the brutalising effect of civilisation versus the healing purity of the natural world – is so resolutely a product of the 1970s that Walkabout does not stand the test of time. Macdonald disagrees.



    "If you delve deeper, it's not really about that at all. It's a bleak film about the difficulties of communication between people. Not just because of language, but because everyone's caught in their own little boxes. There's an open-endedness about it, anyway, there are no definite interpretations. It makes me despair of the over-literalness of modern movies, where everything is dictated by focus groups and everyone has to have the same response."



    While Roeg's camera lovingly captured the burnished plains of the Australian outback, Macdonald's Touching the Void explores the ferocious peaks of the Siula Grande. But both films find something transcendental in the physical world. Macdonald cites a host of techniques inspired by Walkabout, including the use of dizzying zooms to give a sense of scale, and splintered sound and editing to mirror the climbers' disintegrating wits. But it is the general spirit of Roeg's filmmaking that he admires most.



    "Roeg talked to me about using chance in filming. Instead of rescheduling a shot if the weather is wrong, you should think, 'What's this telling me? If I go ahead, it will have different significance.' It's similar to the ambiguity in his films – a sort of surrealist approach. The idea of not closing every option off. I try to emulate that."

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    44
    Liked
    0 times
    Got to say "Walkabout" is one of the best films ever made.I first saw it as a child. now Every time I watch it I see more in it as the years have made me more aware.Jenny Augatergave a brilliant performance for her age,and her kid brother was just totally beleivable,what happened to the actor?

    gm

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Wales David Challinor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    671
    Liked
    9 times
    Walkabout is one of my favourite films also - if I had to name a 'top 5' it would be in there (ABOVE Roeg's more famous Don't Look Now).

    The book Cult Films 3 does a marvellous critque of this memorable work, and let's not forget John Barry lush, romantic score which was released recently. Buy it and enjoy.

    The boy, as many of you will know, is actually Nic Roeg's son. Now a film producer, he has worked to produce several British films, the last one I can remember was Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001). For more details try

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0736312/

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,515
    Liked
    243 times
    Nic Roeg was one of the cameramen on Lawrence of Arabia. Would this be at the start of his career.

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    29,732
    Liked
    418 times
    Freddy:

    Nic Roeg was one of the cameramen on Lawrence of Arabia. Would this be at the start of his career.
    Nick had credits as Camera Operator on a few others before Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

    See his IMDb entry.



    He was only credited as "Photographer: second unit" on Lawrence of Arabia. Photographer, as opposed to Camera Operator or Cinematographer usually means their job was to do with stills photography. But it's a noble profession. Quite a few famous people have that in their early CV.



    BTW The Sundowners was filmed in Australia so may have given him a taste for that fair dinkum country that he later used in Walkabout.



    Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    9,605
    Liked
    151 times
    I never understood fully the father's reasons for killing himself (and shooting at the kids). The opening sequence of imagery partly explains his mind-state but why not just park in a garage with a hosepipe through the window. A good film (and beautifully captured) but I felt the ending was an anti-climax.

  7. #7
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    29,732
    Liked
    418 times
    DB7:

    I never understood fully the father's reasons for killing himself (and shooting at the kids). The opening sequence of imagery partly explains his mind-state but why not just park in a garage with a hosepipe through the window. A good film (and beautifully captured) but I felt the ending was an anti-climax.
    I agree, the start and end are a bit weak. But the rest of it is lovely.



    I thought that the father wanted to kill the children as well. Either doing it himself or just by leaving them in the bush where he thought they wouldn't survive. The father didn't allow for the power of Jenny Agutter getting her kit off - that usually gets her out of any tricky situation :)



    Steve

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,085
    Liked
    9 times
    I think Walkabout's power is in its hypnotic hold over its audience, rather than any meaning which may be derived from its symbolism. Its one common theme throughout is seduction; seduction of its male cast by its female protaganist and its audience by its exquisite photography and scenery. If you take away Australian wilderness and replace it with ocean, it is more like classic mermaid tale - that is, story of siren who lures man to his death.



    All three male cast members fall under her spell and in all three cases such coveting is ill-placed. There is strong suggestion that Mary's father harbours unrequited desire for his daughter, as camera pans her legs in her short school skirt from his point of view as they drive out to picnic. His unhealthy romantic interest in his daughter seems to be only out of place factor in what otherwise seems like normal family day out, and is only reason presented for what drives him to insanity. In her brother's case, we see him spying on her swimming unclothed in lagoon - not even his young years spare him from her enchantment. It is most obvious in case of their Aboriginal saviour, who towards end of film performs mating dance. It is in this relationship where contrast between what she is and what they are is most clear. She is not of our world, and we by contrast are mere savages: slaves to her whim, needs, and beauty. She is beyond reach of mortal man. There is sense of unattainability apparent in each relationship: father cannot be with his daughter; brother with sister; savage with lady. It is even accentuated through her attire - her school uniform is prohibitive of romantic interest.



    It is bookended by two strange deaths, which are both suicides and seemingly caused by Mary. She does not seem bothered by them, as if she accepts it is just part of her nature. They are inextricably linked, and as is typical with Nicolas Roeg's films, gives Walkabout its focus. They add tragic dimension to everything that happens inbetween, making Mary's salvation depressing rather than hopeful. Most stories of sirens are allegorical for places of untouched natural beauty that pose deadly threat to man, and it seems to me that Nicolas Roeg has built Walkabout on similar metaphors.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    19
    Liked
    0 times
    Not to forget Nic Roeg's camera work in Performance (1970).

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    4
    Liked
    0 times
    DB7:

    I never understood fully the father's reasons for killing himself (and shooting at the kids). The opening sequence of imagery partly explains his mind-state but why not just park in a garage with a hosepipe through the window. A good film (and beautifully captured) but I felt the ending was an anti-climax.
    I've always thought it was either of the following



    1. He ran out of petrol(or didn't have enough to get them back) and didn't want his kids to suffer a horrific death in the bush.



    2. He had incestuous feelings towards his daughter, this is implied at the start(watching the daughter swimming) and later in the car when he leans over her lap.



    It really is a remarkable movie and one i have enjoyed from an early age. I have just purchased the Criterion edition and have yet to listen to the commentary track should be intresting.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,393
    Liked
    3 times
    My brief unqualified analysis of Walkabout is that any film showing Jenny Agutter in the nude has got to be worth watching!

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    206
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by SteveCrook@Jul 31 2004, 12:35 AM

    He was only credited as "Photographer: second unit" on Lawrence of Arabia. Photographer, as opposed to Camera Operator or Cinematographer usually means their job was to do with stills photography. But it's a noble profession. Quite a few famous people have that in their early CV
    It would have been a bit of a waste employing Roeg as a mere stills photographer, since he'd been an experienced camera operator for a great many years beforehand.



    His role on Lawrence was indeed second unit cinematographer, and David Lean was impressed enough with his work to offer him the job of cinematographer proper on Doctor Zhivago, but creative differences led to Roeg's departure.



    Roeg is a classic example of someone who genuinely worked his way up the industry - he started out as a clapper loader in the 1940s and was gradually given an increasing amount of responsibility before ending up as an outstanding cinematographer in the 1960s (Masque of the Red Death, Fahrenheit 451 and Far from the Madding Crowd are probably the best examples) and then getting a heaven-sent opportunity to work with total beginner Donald Cammell on Performance. Knowing that Cammell's experience was effectively zero, Roeg insisted on a co-director credit as well as a cinematography one, and by all accounts the two men really did co-direct - it wasn't just a figure of speech or legal credits settlement.



    However, what Roeg wasn't responsible for - somewhat ironically, since it now looks classically 'Roegian' - was the editing style, which was entirely down to Cammell and uncredited co-editor Frank Mazzola (Roeg was in Australia shooting Walkabout at the time, so couldn't be involved). In fact, when Roeg saw their cut, he apparently wanted to take his name off it, as he thought they'd completely butchered it into incomprehensibility - but then did such a spectacular U-turn that he adopted their associative cutting technique wholesale.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17
    Liked
    0 times
    walkabout forever!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,085
    Liked
    9 times
    Originally posted by Wetherby Pond@Apr 24 2005, 09:22 AM

    However, what Roeg wasn't responsible for - somewhat ironically, since it now looks classically 'Roegian' - was the editing style, which was entirely down to Cammell and uncredited co-editor Frank Mazzola (Roeg was in Australia shooting Walkabout at the time, so couldn't be involved). In fact, when Roeg saw their cut, he apparently wanted to take his name off it, as he thought they'd completely butchered it into incomprehensibility - but then did such a spectacular U-turn that he adopted their associative cutting technique wholesale.
    I was aware that there were differences over its final edit, but I do not think that they were to that extent. Roeg's last film as cinematographer before doing Performance is Petulia, which is Performance's forerunner in many ways. That film's editing has more in common with Nicolas Roeg's films than Richard Lester's which suggests to me that Ro eg was influential in how that film was put together, and was thinking along those lines before his partnership with Cammell.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    209
    Liked
    0 times
    Wonderful film. I haven't seen it for many years so I just got the DVD. Extras on it were pants. A map of Australia briefly explaining it natural wonders and some aspect of Aboriginal culture, some biog./filmog. stuff and the original film trailer. That is it. However the film is still magic

    Cheers,

    A

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,085
    Liked
    9 times
    Originally posted by Aenima@Jul 29 2005, 12:51 PM

    Wonderful film. I haven't seen it for many years so I just got the DVD. Extras on it were pants. A map of Australia briefly explaining it natural wonders and some aspect of Aboriginal culture, some biog./filmog. stuff and the original film trailer. That is it. However the film is still magic

    Cheers,

    A
    Criterion's disk is much better - it has two commentaries, one by Roeg and another by Jenny Agutter. It is not regionally coded either.

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    2
    Liked
    0 times
    Can anybody help me place the lines of poetry recited at the end of Walkabout?





    "into my heart an air that chills

    from yon far country blows

    What are those blue remembered hills

    What spires, what farms are those?



    That is the land of lost content

    I see it shining plane

    The happy highways where we went,

    and cannot come again"

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by Jalfrezi@Aug 5 2005, 12:17 AM

    Can anybody help me place the lines of poetry recited at the end of Walkabout?

    "into my heart an air that chills

    from yon far country blows

    What are those blue remembered hills

    What spires, what farms are those?



    That is the land of lost content

    I see it shining plane

    The happy highways where we went,

    and cannot come again"
    this is written by a e housman; from a shropshire lad.


    cheers

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Europe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    3,373
    Liked
    36 times
    Originally posted by Wolfgang@Jul 30 2005, 08:56 AM

    Criterion's disk is much better - it has two commentaries, one by Roeg and another by Jenny Agutter. It is not regionally coded either.
    Are there any other differences between the Criterion and Universal versions save for the commentaries?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Europe
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    3,373
    Liked
    36 times
    Frankland's Walkabout



    http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts/frankla...3958120074.html



    Interesting take on this classic:



    Frankland's walkabout

    August 18, 2005



    The 1971 film Walkabout, inspired Richard Frankland to "fill in the gaps" with a live show.



    Filmmaker, musician and sometime Senate candidate Richard Frankland leads a long-considered response to a classic Australian film, writes Greg Burchall.



    It's a cold, wet Melbourne night. About as far a journey as anyone can make from the sun-blasted red desert of outback Australia. But as director Richard Frankland urges his cast of actors, dancers and musicians through rehearsals of Chamber Made's Walkabout, a multi-media show being staged at ACMI, the vivid emotions of the story and the oppressive nature of the setting take over.



    "Use the space, start carving yourself into it," suggests Frankland, and the cavernous Meat Market room starts to lose its walls. Its high ceiling becomes the featureless and unkind sky that bears down on these hapless figures in an alien landscape.



    Everyone who saw Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film will remember those skies and the feeling of an ancient land that was no place for two English schoolchildren (Jenny Agutter and Roeg's son, Luc). It was the first time cinemagoers had seen the Australian interior other than in a travelogue. And the first time an indigenous actor (a young David Gulpilil) had taken a central screen role, at least since Jedda (1955) and not including Journey Out of Darkness (1967), where the Aboriginal leads were played by Ed Devereaux in blackface and Kamahl.

    AdvertisementAdvertisement



    Frankland will never forget the impact of Walkabout.



    "There was a black man on the big screen and tht was amazing," he says. "The thing is, there was nothing there at the time - we were invisible - so anything that was remotely positive was great. I saw him as a warrior. I saw him as a beautiful dancer. I saw a man of great culture and cultural depth, but no one knew what he was saying. No one knew what he was really feeling. What we've done in this production is filled in the gaps."



    Frankland is quick to point out that when he was born in 1963, he wasn't "a complete citizen" (Australia's original inhabitants didn't get full citizenship until 1967) and that "it's amazing people think they've fixed the problems because of a few bits of legislation".



    Last year Frankland co-founded a political party, Your Voice, and ran for the Senate, but he also believes in the power of art to educate, heal and challenge. He's collaborated on award-winning films including Who Killed Malcolm Smith? and Harry's War, written plays and toured with his band the Charcoal Club.



    "In this project, we use all kinds of media to help get the message across. I love white and black working together - it's been a hell of a bloody ride."

    Richard Frankland



    Richard Frankland

    Photo:Neil Newitt



    Music theatre company Chamber Made had long wanted to take Walkabout and give it a twist in perspective, shift the point of view, and look at it in the context of contemporary black/white relations in Australia. Frankland was approached to use his theatre, filmmaking and song-writing skills to craft a "response" to Roeg's tragi-comedy of "mutual incomprehension".



    By taking Roeg's film script, a stage script by Jane Harrison, original film footage and his own songs, Frankland has created an alternate way for the audience to view the journey of the two white children and their black rescuer.



    Cast member Ian Stenlake has been on his own strange journey for the production, playing a character who offers a certain view on the proceedings in terms of white anthropology, but helps tell the wider story, with traditional choreography.



    "I grew up in the Queensland bush and I was brought up in a fairly racist way," he says. "I was about 24 before I ever considered the notion that Australia was invaded, that the land was taken from people who had had it for thousands of years. It's been great to visit all of these issues and to be breaking down cross-cultural barriers.



    "These are volatile times, so it's important to remember we are one people - diverse in background - and we should move forward together."



    Frankland believes in the power of art to "create the cultural fabric of a nation" and bring about change.



    "I see lots of homeless people - white and black - and I see lots of people doing it hard - young families - and they're scared. 'Are they going to re-negotiate my contract? How am I going to feed my family?' There's no security.



    "If you make people in a society insecure then you make them easier to control. That's the reality.



    "As artists, we don't have all the answers but we're helping to question things, provoking thought and that's necessary if we want to know things like 'who are we?' and, more importantly, 'who are we going to be?"'



    There are more indigenous performers in the mainstream than when Walkabout first screened, including Archie Roach and Christine Anu in song, Bangarra in dance and actors such as Deborah Mailman, Aaron Pedersen and John Moore. Gulpilil, who is attending tomorrow night's opening, is still sought for roles and honoured with awards.



    As for Frankland, he's proud to use his art for agitation and the political stage for powerful performances. But, one day, he'd like to go back and live in Victoria's south-west. His people's land. Gunditjmara land.



    "When you've got art, you've got voice, when you've got voice you've got freedom and with freedom comes responsibility."

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Walkabout - Jenny Agutter 1971
    By crunchie in forum Films on TV
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 30-01-16, 05:48 PM
  2. Walkabout with Jenny Agutter Q&A at BFI March 5
    By David Challinor in forum Dates for your Diary
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-03-11, 09:32 PM
  3. Walkabout - actor
    By tali122 in forum Ask a Film Question
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14-03-10, 12:36 AM
  4. Ray Mears Walkabout
    By Marky B in forum British Television
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 25-06-08, 06:08 PM
  5. Max Raab, producer of 'Walkabout' R.I.P.
    By julian_craster in forum Obituaries
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-03-08, 02:06 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts