Last night, I watched Walkabout, a breathtaking film directed by Nicolas Roeg in 1971. An oasis of experimental editing, characterized by strong visual composition combined with extensive cross-cutting and the juxtaposition of events, location, or environments to build his themes. The soundtrack is alternately intriguing and lyrical, made to measure by John Barry himself, and Edward Bond's storyline is captivating.
If you haven't seen it yet, run to the nearest video store and rent the Criterion Collection DVD (the "original, unedited director’s cut"), if you saw that film, you know what I am talking about. Oh, and you might feel like asking if I was not too disgusted by the hunters' scene or by any other of the chop-chop scenes. Hmm, of course I was, a bit ...but, I know the ways of the world and was introduced to death at an early age. For your information: I grew up in the country, lived on a modernized farm (but a farm, all the same), and am the daughter of a butcher-caterer . So the meaty or bloody scenes did not make me feel too too sick.
I rather observed it all as a case of anatomy, I guess. With a lot of interest and curiosity- what if this was to happen to me one day? Would I survive the experience? A question of life or death. I pondered over the eerie and yet so real quality of this cautionary tale; well worth learning a lesson from these young wanderers: a British high school girl, her younger brother and a young indigenous Australian boy; all undergoing their ritual Walkabout through the Australian outback.
Nicolas Roeg, the British filmmaker, improvised greatly during filming; he has commented that "We didn’t really plan anything—we just came across things by chance…filming whatever we found."The poem read at the end of the film is Poem 40 from A.E. Houseman's A Shropshire Lad.A real journey. Paradise (or Innocence) Lost, found, and ultimately Paradise Regained in the wilderness; back there. Down under...