VIFF 2014: Charlie's Country exposes the paradoxes of modern Aboriginal existence

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      Charlie's Country (Australia)

      Director Rolf de Heer transports audiences to wild territory, where Aborigines hold tailgate drinking parties under the Liquor Act sign that prohibits alcohol from their community and where  the bony, woolly-haired title character straps a dead buffalo to the hood of a car. Charlie (the weathered David Gulpilil) is caught between the old ways and the new world; when he isn’t getting his spear confiscated, he’s subsisting in a tin shack and pining for the days he once danced for the queen. The film is slow, with acting sometimes as rough as its landscapes, but it exposes some complex truths about contemporary Aboriginal issues through a grizzled, defiant character unlike any you’ve met before on-screen. What starts out like a bitterly funny comedy of errors as Charlie tries to lead a traditional life turns into something quite moving by the end. The old guy's deepest fear? To be sent away from the bush.

      Cinematheque, October 4 (4:15 p.m.), SFU Woodward's, October 7 (11 a.m.) and 10 (6:30 p.m.)

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