Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rolf De Heer

Rolf De Heer is the guy that made Ten Canoes. At least I think he is. I wrote about that movie recently, so it would be a shame if I'm wrong.

Lord Wiki says I'm right. What a relief.

He made Ten Canoes AND The Tracker. I forgot about the latter. Both movies featured David Gulpilil. Okay, there's something else I to spell that guy's last name. I had to go look it up. In my mind I was saying, David Gu....something.

I had a brief look at De Heer's filmography. It says he produced The Sound of One Hand Clapping. Did I know there was a movie of that? I don't think so. But maybe I did. I'm having some deja vu. I feel like I've learned that information before, and was surprised back then. Maybe in a few months, I'll read about the movie and be surprised again.

De Heer was both in The Netherlands, on 4 May 1951.

He moved to Australia when he was eight.

He attended AFTRS (Australian Film Television and Radio School).

Lord Wiki doesn't have much beyond that....just lists of his awards and movies.

Wait. Here's something. De Heer's production company is called Vertigo Productions. Here's their website. I love the color scheme on their graphics. To me, it has a 1970's feel. I'm feeling all nostalgic for Saturday rollerskating adventures. The graphics are animated. It's moving about in a way that's supposed to simulate vertigo. Pretty clever.

I think they have information about each of De Heer's movies....or most of them, at least.

I'll look at all of them.

The problem is my internet is so slow today. I'm going to need to twiddle my thumbs or something.

All right. Here's the first movie on the list. It's from 1984, and it's called Tail of a Tiger. They have a photo from the movie. There's a kid. She/he reminds me of the kid in the kick-the-can segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

This page has a synopsis of the movie. It's about a child who's obsessed with airplanes. Then he finds an old abandoned plane. It seems the movie is about him trying to get it flying again. I bet it's one of those feel-good tear-jerker type things. The plane he wants to rescue is called a Tiger Moth. So that's where you get the title.

I guess it's considered a kid movie. This page has the awards it was honored with. It won something from Kinderfest at the Berlin Film Festival. I'm guessing kinder refers to children. Then the movie also won a second place award from the Chicago International Film Festival of Children's Films. I didn't know Chicago had such a program. It looks really cool. They even have a film summer camp for kids.

The next Rolf De Heer movie came out in 1988. This was Incident at Raven's Gate. The tagline plays off of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It says, a total encounter of the nightmare kind. I wonder if it's about alien abduction.

The Synopsis on the website says I'm right. It IS an alien thing. Lord Wiki also has information about the film. He says it takes place in a rural South Australia town. I don't get it. Lord Wiki makes a big deal about it being cross-genre. He says that it's part thriller, part science fiction, and part psychological drama. What's the big deal? Aren't many science fiction films also thrillers and psychological dramas? I would say that most are actually. And then you have others that are comedies and/or adventures. But I can't imagine there being a science fiction drama that does not have these elements. When weird things happen to people, they're scared, and then we get scared. There you have the thriller aspect of it. And all this stress of the weirdness creates psychological issues in the characters. How could it not?

The next movie from Vertigo Productions came out in 1991. This was Dingo. From the picture on the site, I can guess it's not about dogs, but about musicians. I'd personally prefer a movie about dogs.

The movie is about jazz. That in itself sounds really boring to me. I'm not a huge fan of movies about musicians. But I like what's here on the synopsis page, although it kind of gives the whole story away. I won't. I'll just say it's about a boy named Dingo who lives in a small Australia town. A plane of jazz musicians has to land in their town for some reason. The boy is influenced and inspired by the musicians. Then they leave, and....Well, I won't give the rest away. If you want to know more, click on the link.

IMDb says that De Heer got an AFI nomination for the film. But he didn't win. That's okay. We can't all win everything.

The next movie was Bad Boy Bubby. This came out in 1993. It's about a man who's been held prisoner by his mother his whole life. He has never left her house. She used psychological warfare--telling him the outside world was poisonous. It sounds like it could be very dark and depressing. But it's a comedy-drama. Maybe that's because the movie deals with his life after he gets out of the prison.

Lord Wiki says some interesting things about the movie. He says the film had several directors of photography. Each one of them was assigned to a different location in the movie. That is so cool.

The movie won several awards and honors. I guess this was De Heer's first major success.

It did have some controversy because it contains some cat death scenes. The IMDb trivia page says the cat was not really suffocated. It was euthanized by a vet. That's still sad. You'd think that since this cat donated his acting services, someone on set would have the decency to adopt him. Or was he sick? I hope they didn't kill him just for the sake of the movie.

Here's a trailer for the film. Crap. I'm having major Internet problems today. YouTube keeps hiccuping on me. This is incredibly frustrating.

I'm just going to move onto the next movie, while Bad Boy Bubby hiccups in the background.

The next movie by Vertigo Productions was called Epsilon. The tagline is How much warning do you need? I'm intrigued. It sounds like a horror movie, but the imagery makes it look like a romance.

Oh. Okay. I get it. It's science fiction and romance. The synopsis page says it's about a woman from another planet who falls to earth. She and an earthing fall in love. How sweet.

I'm just sitting here waiting for the page to load. Tim says he's probably going to help me update my computer's operating system. Hopefully, that will solve some of my problem.

I should limit my complaining though. It's not like my town has been ravaged by an earthquake.

I'm going to move onto the next movie. I was just trying to get some extra insight from IMDb, but it was taking too long for the pages to load.

The next movie was The Quiet Room. The tagline for this is What do you do with adults that behave like children? I think most adults act like children most of the time. Outside of size and voice type, I really don't see much difference between children and adults. Yeah. For some, the interests are different. Adults tend to like stuff like alcohol and antiques. Kids like lollipops and unicorns. But in terms of maturity, I don't see a huge gulf between the two.

I'm not saying that kids are as mature as adults. I'm saying adults are as immature as kids.

The movie is about a drama. It's about a little girl who stops talking. Yeah. I can understand how tempting that is.

From what I've read and experienced, I think elective mutism is similar to anorexia. It's about trying to feel some control when you feel like you have little of it.

I just watched the trailer. YouTube decided to finally work for me. It looks like a beautiful film. The non-talking child is dealing with parents on the verge of separation. I love the line when she talks about people thinking she's stupid if she starts talking again. When I was student teaching in a preschool classroom, we had a nontalker. She DID talk at home. But she greatly limited her speech in school. I'm pretty sure a fear develops regarding people making a big deal if/when she did talk. If my memory serves me correctly, I think we DID avoid this. I mean it would be awful to start parading around. She's talking! She's talking. I think it's better to try to act casual.

It's the same with eating disorders. It would probably not be helpful to shout out at the table. Oh! So you're eating now! No more starvation, huh? I never had that fortunately. Once my mom said something like Are you going to have a piece of cake, or are you still on that diet? That didn't make me feel too good. It made me feel STUPID for wanting to eat normally again. This came after I told everyone I had an eating disorder and was trying to recover from it. Maybe I WOULD have preferred them cheering for my eating. But silent acceptance would have probably been best. Or subtle encouragement maybe. Sometimes silence gives me the idea that people don't notice, don't listen, and don't care.

I wonder how the parents in the movie react. Well, the trailer shows a little bit of it. It shows their initial reaction. But I wonder what they did next.

The next movie came out in 1998. It was called Dance Me To My Song. It's about a woman who's stuck in her wheelchair, and she doesn't like her carer.

A few days ago I considered quitting this blog. I asked for a certain sign from the universe about whether I should continue. I got the message I should continue. But now with my Internet working so slow..... Well, maybe I'm getting the opposite message. It's really hard to work this way.

I DO love writing this blog, but there are aspects I don't like. It's hard for me to quit though because I have this huge list of names, and I want to learn about all of them. I thought of just reading about them, but I don't learn as much when I don't also write about them. I could just write for myself, but I feel weird doing that. When I write, I like to imagine that someone's going to read it and be interested. I guess I could imagine that my fairy godmother is reading.....

Here we go. I can stop blabbing. My page loaded. IMDb says the movie was nominated for some awards. Good.

The production notes on the Vertigo site are interesting. The movie was written by a woman who has cerebral palsy. She also stars in the film.

The next movie is The Old Man Who Read Love Stories. Oh! I THOUGHT that looked like Richard Dreyfuss, but I figured I was mistaken. But it is him. The synopsis says so. It's about a man who lives in the jungle. And he likes romance stories. The story involves man-eating jaguars. Ah. That sounds fairly exciting.

Speaking of Richard Dreyfuss. Last night I dreamed about Jaws. I was on a boat with two other people, and we were characters in the movie. I asked them if we were meant to die in the film, and they said yes. I wasn't too happy about that, and suggested that perhaps we could change our fate by going in a different direction with our boat. Can taking a different route change your destiny?

We headed towards the dock in the harbour. As we got closer, we saw a shark attacking a boat closer to the dock. Oops. Wrong choice. This led me to believe that you can't run from your destiny. Although we did try, of course. The shark got us. Before getting eaten, I wondered if it would hurt. It didn't. I felt the shark biting into me, but I didn't feel pain.

Wow. This film has a lot of production notes. Is there like a whole novel here?

Oh. This one is funny. When they were casting, a British actor showed interest in the film. He knew nothing of De Heer's work. Then he watched some of his earlier movies. De Heer's company got a note from the actor's people saying, My client does not wish to spend three months in the jungle with a madman.

Well, I'm guessing most directors are madmen (or women) to some degree. The same probably goes for actors. Most creative people are a bit nuts.

Then this next story is kind of funny. It talks about how De Heer did not want Dreyfuss for the role. He felt he was wrong for the part. But the name came up a few times, and he decided to give him a chance. Then it turned out Dreyfuss felt the same way. He thought he was wrong for the part.

De Heer talks about how the film was supposed to be filmed in Venezuela. When they did the location scouting, it was beautiful and perfect. When it came time to make the movie though, there was political upheaval.....kidnapping stuff. De Heer was asked to pay for kidnapping insurance for Dreyfuss. Yikes.

They changed the filming location to a place in France. Well, actually it's a French owned island near South America. French Guiana. I had never heard of that before today. So cool. I've just learned something new.

Hugo Weaving is in the movie. I don't remember mentioning the film when I wrote about him. Maybe I did, and I've just forgotten. What's worse, negligence when writing these posts...or a faulty memory? I don't know.

The next movie was one of the David Gulpilil ones. The Tracker. The tagline for this is All men choose the path they walk. I agree with that, but I think certain things push us to take certain paths. But in the end, I guess ultimately it's our choice. I do feel that something out there pushed me to get involved with Australia. But I could have said no. Right?

I talked about this movie recently in the Gulpilil post, so I won't go too much into it again. I'll read the production notes. That may have something new and interesting. It says De Heer had written the treatment ten years earlier when writing a different film.

The page talks about the neck chain restraint that Gulpilil wore in the movie. This was used in Australian history for Aboriginals and convicts. Then they stopped using it for convicts, but used it a long time after for Aboriginals. It's sad. I think it's so hard to see humans being treated like animals....even though humans ARE animals. And frankly, I think it's hard to see nonhuman animals being treated like animals. I mean I don't have a problem with animals drinking out from a bowl on the floor. And I don't think we really need to give them driving licenses and library cards. But we went to the Fort Worth Stock show, and I thought it was sad to see the animals chained up and used that way. Maybe it's because I realize that humans were once treated like that in America.

My parents loved seeing the animals. They love that stuff. I bitched at them about making a vegetarian like me endure such a spectacle. My mom said, But you drink milk, don't you? I mumbled something in my defense, but really....She was right. I was being a total hypocrite.

Oh, this made me feel like crying a bit. They had Gulpilil and the other actors try the chains on for the first time. Gulpilil says, When David tried one on - we shook our heads in a collective and belated ‘sorry’.

There are so many things we have to say sorry about, and we keep creating more and more.

Really. We treat humans like crap. We treat nonhuman animals like crap. But sometimes we're nice. Right? I'm trying to think POSITIVE.

There was a Rolf De Heer movie between The Tracker and Ten Canoes. This was called Alexandra's Project.

I'm reading the synopsis. It sounds interesting. It's about a man who suddenly learns his wife isn't happy in the marriage. Okay, that's a very simplistic description. I don't want to give much away. I'm just not sure what would be too much.

Let's just watch the trailer. We'll see how much that gives away.

That's pretty intense. It's kind of a drama thriller type thing.

It's about a woman who has major secrets, and a husband who doesn't notice.

Some of the production notes are interesting. A lot of the movie is scenes of the husband watching a video the wife made him. They filmed the video tape scene weeks before so it would be ready for the husband character to watch it on set. They didn't have him watch the videotape until the camera was rolling. They felt this way his reaction to it would be more authentic.

They say the movie might create difficult conversations and debates between men and women. On the trailer, one of the film critics is quoted as saying, a profoundly squirmy date movie.

It deals with a major issue in marriage and hetero-romantic relationships. As a generalization (but often true one) women want men to know when something is wrong. Men don't get this. They want us to be direct. Better yet, they want us to not HAVE anything wrong.

One night, I was on the couch with Tim and Jack. I started to say something, but then said, Never mind. The translation for that is I have something I want to say, but I feel embarrassed and stupid to say it. If you coax it out of me, I'll say it.

Jack asked me what I had wanted to say. He wanted to know.

Tim said something like, Jack, when someone says never mind, that means they don't want to talk about it. Yeah. For men, it might! It probably means, Leave me alone. Drop the subject. For most women, it usually doesn't mean that.

If I truly wanted the subject dropped, I'd probably say I'm busy. Maybe we'll talk about it later. OR maybe simply. Let's drop the subject. I can't think of times I've done that in my marriage. But I do it in emails sometimes. And then I truly mean it. I WANT the subject dropped. I'm more direct and upfront in my writing. In real life, I'm more hesitant at times. Certain members of my family interrupt...a lot. You start to tell a story or reveal something, and they turn around to talk to someone else. Or they notice something adorable that they must immediately gush over. That makes me feel shy, like what I'm saying is not worth it. Sometimes I'll be strong and keep pushing it. I talk. I wait. I try to get their attention. I talk. I wait again. I keep going. Other times, I just give up. Sometimes, I hope they'll remember and say Oh, I'm sorry. What were you saying again? But they rarely do.

And it's not like I'm a perfect listener either. Maybe I'm just as bad. Maybe it's genetic. Anyway, I should watch out for that...make sure I'm not repeating behaviors I don't like in others.

Anyway, as for the movie. I can relate to the marriage issues in it. I won't go into all that right now. I feel like being a LITTLE private. Plus, things are really great right now. Oh shit. At least I think so. Wouldn't it be ironic if now Tim is the one who's unhappy, and I'm totally oblivious? That would suck.

Let's move onto the next movie. Ten Canoes. I read a little about this when I read about David Gulpilil, but I'm not sure I really got a sense of what it's about. So I look forward to reading the synopsis. I just know it's about Aboriginal people. They speak their Aboriginal language in the movie. And unlike most Aussie movies involving Aborigines, this one is not about white-black relations. To me, that's quite a breakthrough.

The story is about a young man who covets his brother's wife. To help him through this, a storyteller tells him a mythical tale.

The movie won the AFI award for best film. And it won other important awards, but I'm not going to list them all.

The last movie on the Vertigo Productions site is Dr. Plonk. It looks like it's a black and white comedy; not as in race relations, but the coloring of the film. It's about a scientist from 1907 who believes the world will end in 101 years. He then visits the future which is 2007. Well, I guess he wanted to get there a year earlier. You need time to change the future/past...whatever.

I just read John Marsden's time traveling story. Out of Time. It totally confused me, but I liked it. I'm just not sure I understand what was happening. There's all these stories that don't seem to connect. But the thing is, they were interesting stories so I didn't mind. Despite being totally lost, I was never bored.

Here's the trailer.  for Dr. Plonk.  Oh cool. They've made it look like an old fashioned silent movie. It looks really fun. I'm not sure I'd want to sit through two hours of it. What am I saying? I rarely want to sit through two hours of ANY movie!

The production notes are interesting. They talk about how it was not so easy to make a movie like that in the twenty-first century. First they tried using a really old camera. That didn't work...something to do with the film stock. They ended up using a much more modern camera, and found ways to adapt. Well, it looks like they did a good job with it.

In 2008, there was a follow up to Ten Canoes. I don't see it mentioned on the Vertigo site though. Maybe De Heer did it without his company? If I'm understanding things right, it wasn't released as a movie. It's a website project. It looks really cool. There's all these Aboriginal pictures. I guess you're supposed to click on one. I'm going to pick the one that looks like a snake.

Now I'm asked to pick a language...English or Yolngu. I'm picking the latter. I LOVE how it sounds. I do hope the video is subtitled though.

The video I chose is called "Plants and Animals".

It's buffering.

I'm waiting.

Still waiting......

While I wait, I'll try to get more information.

Ah. Something just moved. It was a crocodile. Very scary. I don't much like those things. Sorry, Steve Irwin.

Now it's buffering again.

This website has some information about the various canoe projects. Ten Canoes came first. Then there was Eleven Canoes. This project was to teach teens of the Ramingining Community how to make documentaries. Twelve Canoes is what I'm TRYING to watch now. It's a multimedia thing.

Thirteen Canoes is a gallery exhibit at the South Australia Museum. And Fourteen Canoes will be at a museum in Victoria. It will also be in a book.

This canoe thing might go on forever.

The movie is slowing moving. I just saw a cockatoo fly away. I love those guys.

I'm now seeing a flower, a snake skin, and a butterfly.

Well, I'm going to quit this post. I'll keep trying to watch the movie though. It looks good.


  1. LOL, that is the last time I won movie tickets: The Sound of One Hand Clapping- the saddest part was I had exams and had to give them away. I think I saw it eventually. In any case, check out a film not De Heer but very good, WALKABOUT.

  2. Hi Dina,
    I love Ten Canoes and highly recommend it, it was a beautiful film and was set back before white settlement and the whole story is about the younger brother learning a lesson through the fable told.

    I just finished watching the 12 Canoes movies and loved them hope your internet ended up working so you could watch them i think you would really enjoy them. I could really relate to 'Kinship' as our family is very similar.
    I also like 'Thomson Time' and 'First White Man' sent chills down my spine especially the bit about horse meat.

  3. Zhen: Oh, that sucks. Sorry you had to give your tickets away. When we lived in NYC, we'd get free tickets to see movies not released yet. Then you had to answer a survey at the end. We went to a few, but the only one I remember was Seven Years in Tibet. One of the questions asked if I was a fan of Brad Pitt. It totally stumped me. Did they mean "fan" as how I am with I have Brad Pitt oozing out of my brain. Or did they just want to know if I like him. If I said no, would that mean I was anti-Brad Pitt? I was all crazy and confused.

    I haven't seen Walkabout yet, but I've read the book. I used to get it confused with "Wake in Fright". I want to read that! I need to remember to look for it.

    Matt: I checked once again...the day after I wrote the post. It didn't work. Now I just checked again, and I'm getting this really weird message. "This domain name is currently parked". What the hell does that mean?

    I'm feeling a bit cursed when it comes to watching this. I do see that they have something up from 12 Canoes on YouTube. I'm going to rush and watch it now before something else happens.

    Otherwise, I'm just going to have to come to your house to watch it.

  4. Oh!

    Now it started working again!!!!

    I don't know if the actual video will work though. But at least I got to the website.

    I'm feeling a little less cursed now.

  5. Matt,

    Okay. I finished watching the ones you recommended. It was kind of hard because the movie keeps pausing and buffering.

    I agree. The white people one was horrific. Human beings can be unbelievably evil. The scary thing is they felt they were doing no wrong.

    The kinship one was all cozy. It would be nice to feel I had such a huge family to depend on. It's that whole take-a-village mentality. Here (in my culture, at least) there's a strong idea of the nuclear family standing alone. Although I'm fairly close to my nieces and nephew. I don't think I'd be considered a mother to them though.

    I never had any real close relationship to my aunts and uncles. Are you close to yours? Are they like parents to you?

    I'm not sure I'd like not being able to talk to my brother after a certain age. But I don't have no worries for me.

    I'm guessing you still talk to your sister. Well, it just seems from what you've said in the past, that you're still in communication. But I might have misread that.

  6. Hi Dina,

    Glad you finially got to watch the movies

    Yeah our family structure is a bit different then on 12 canoes. You still have your mother (naanggu), father (biyang), grandfather (buli), grandmother (ngarrayi) like the european family structure but my grandmothers or grandfathers bothers and sisters are classed as my aunties (baluwa) and uncles (gadan) and their childern my cousins. My mothers siblings are like my mothers and fathers but some are closer than others.
    Two aunties are very close as i have lived with them for various time of my life.
    Another thing that is different in traditional tribal times (for our tribe anyway) you followed your mothers line instead of your fathers line like europeans.

    P.S I have just found this book of Dhungutti (my tribe) language dictionary and grammar and i am just starting to learn most of these words. It was written using old tape recordings from the early 1900s that have been stored down in Canberra

  7. Matt,

    I'm trying to get this straight. So do you consider your parent's siblings as your mother and father? Or would they be aunts and uncles?

    As for following mother's line vs. father that in terms of last name?

    In our family, the women usually take the husband's name. But in terms of location, my sisters and I all live close to our parents. Our husbands followed us, and are more part of our family than they are of their families. I don't know if that's unusual or not.

    I think it's awesome that you're learning Dhungutti. Do you know anyone from your tribe that you learn and practice with? That might be fun.

    Do you know many people from your tribe besides your family?

    Is Dhungutti the same as Dianggati?

  8. We call them Aunt's and Uncle's but some are closer than that. Most of this has died out and has become more European. To use my Grandmother as an example she was raised by her Aunty not her Mother, this was because her Aunty could not have childern. So to her, her Aunty was her mother but it was always known who her real mother was, but this would rarely happen now days.

    Following the mother's line was in terms of Tribe, Clan, Totem, Last name, but again this has stopped and we now follow the european way for e.g. my grandmother last name was Moran, her mothers last name was Moran and was Dhungutti, but her fathers last name was Foley and he was a Gumbaynggir (which is the tribe north of ours).

    Yes i do know people from Dhungutti that im not related to but not that many as i have never lived up there. I also have friends and relatives from Gumbaynggir and Anaiwan which are tribe to the north and west of Dhungutti.

    Yes Daingatti is the same as Dhungutti as well as Thungutti or Dungutti plus there are others as there is various ways to spell it. Daingatti is the original way it was spelt but now days most people i know use Dhungutti or Thungutti

  9. Matt,

    Thank you. I love learning about your family.

    I don't know if I have this right, but from what I see....the Dhungutti are near New England National Park?? That's much farther north than I imagined. For some reason, I thought your tribe was closer to Sydney.

    Your dad's family is Irish, right? Are you close that side of your family at all?

    I remember you said your tribal animal is the kangaroo. Since you have some Gumbaynggir roots, do you have a tribal animal for them as well?

    I'm sorry if I'm asking too many questions.

    If you ever decided to write your autobiography, I'd be very excited to read it : )

  10. yeah the Dhungutti tribal area extends from Macksville to the north, Port Macquarie to the south and out towards Armidale to the West. My family/clan is from the South West Rocks area.

    Yeah Dad's has Irish heritage and we are all pretty close as well, i use to go to my nan and pop's house everyday after school cause dad would be at work and a lot of my cousins would do the same, so there was always at least 10 other cousins sometimes more there and we all grew up together.

    Im not sure what the Gumbaynggir totem is but you usually have your own totem, family/clan totem (Kangaroo) and tribe totem and it can be any plant or animal

    I don't mind about the questions and if i ever write a biography i will be sure to pass it on.

  11. Matt,

    Thank you!

    I enjoyed finding the area on Google Maps.