Archive for June 29th, 2015

78. Walkabout (1971)


by Patricia Perry

At first glance, Walkabout would seem to belong to that most classic of story tropes: in which a young person leaves home – to escape danger or to seek his/her fortune – and, after an arduous journey with setbacks and side trips, emerges on the other side a transformed and wiser young adult.

But the journey made through the Australian Outback by the three youngsters in Nicholas Roeg’s 1971 film has different consequences. Roeg subverts this familiar trope to show children who cannot escape their cultural conditioning and cannot bridge the chasm between their own experience and that of another young person from a wildly different life.  For at least one, the journey the ends in tragedy; for another it is not a transforming experience, but one that sends her reeling back to a more familiar life of comfort and conformity. An enigmatic, impressionistic film that occasionally nods to conventional expectations, but more often demolishes them, Walkabout offers cold-eyed observations of the worlds its characters inhabit, but no easy judgments.

It opens with scenes of a an upper-middle-class life in Sydney: students in a girl’s school practicing their elocution lessons; ground kangaroo meat for sale in a sterile, white butcher shop; a woman slicing fruit in her high-rise condominium kitchen while watching her children (Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg) swimming below in a chlorinated pool that lies mere steps from the edge of the ocean. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The Childhood Films Countdown enjoyed an extraordinary opening week with page views totals that have resurrected the site to banner status.  Ed Howard’s opening essay on The White Ribbon garnered an impressive number of page views and comments, as did the review of River’s Edge which amassed some truly fabulous numbers by both barometers of measurement.  The other three pieces did quite well in addition.  Five more terrific films will be examined starting today, and will continue well into October.  There are still a handful of unclaimed films for network writers to consider.

Lucille and I just finished the most torrid week of our nearly 20 year marriage, starting with Jillian’s 8th grade graduation on Tuesday night.  Then the following day Sammy graduated high school, and on Thursday we attended two retirement affairs, a luncheon and a dinner for a group of teachers and the school superintendent.  On Friday night we attended the wedding of a fellow teacher in our school, and then on Saturday I escorted Lucille, Sammy and Melanie to a Morrissey/Blondie concert at Madison Square Garden, while Jeremy, Broadway Bob and I watched the film Dope while the others were taking in the musical show.  Finally on Sunday I attended the Film Forum Jr. screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory  Though the school year has ended, Lucille continues working over the summer until the last two weeks of August as principal, and I begin teacher the summer program (8:15 to 12:15 Monday through Friday) today until August 7th. (more…)

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