What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this visually-rich drama from 1971 contains some extremely disturbing scenes, including a father shooting at his children and a hanging. Young viewers might be disturbed by the teen girl and young boy's lengthy struggle to survive alone in the Australian outback. Several hunting scenes include animals being killed, gutted, and cooked, with lingering close-ups of carcasses and maggots. The teen girl often appears in her bra, sometimes in her underwear, and a couple times appears topless and nude. These scenes are not explicitly sexual, but some are mildly erotic.
What's the story?
After an Australian teen girl and her young brother are abandoned by their violent father they must find their way home through the beautiful and desolate Outback. The siblings show startling resilience and strength as they suffer from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and oddly-detached emotions. On the brink of death, the duo meets an Aboriginal teen who helps them survive through hunting and foraging. As the group gets closer to formal civilization, the trio splits in a disturbing series of events meant to comment on the contrasts between Western and traditional cultures, as well as the loss of innocence.
Is it any good?
The film is full of gorgeous images, fascinating soundscapes, and quietly disturbing scenes that create an evocative and powerful piece of art and commentary. The contrasts between the natural and the urban and the Western and Aboriginal are provocative, critiquing modern culture in a way that's both subtle and stark. The characters are barely developed, and yet their performances are strong. All the positives outweigh some of the odd art-film elements that seem outdated at times, or just misplaced. Sometimes it's hard to understand the young boy, in part because of his accent, which detracts from the overall impact of certain scenes.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about survival. What did the teen girl and young boy have to do in order to survive? Were you surprised by anything they did or by how they acted? How did their methods of survival differ from the Aboriginal teen?
Talk about cultural differences. How did the film portray the contrast between the urban and nature-based cultures? What message did you get from the film, and was it different from what you think the filmmakers intended?