The Tracker

Overview

Experimental director Rolf DeHeer's film The Tracker depicts a controversial moment in the Australian justice system, in doing so taking on a popular topic among Australian filmmakers--the complicated and too often racist relationship between Aboriginals and locals. When an Aboriginal tracker (David Gulpilil) leads the manhunt for a fugitive native, a series of atrocities are performed on the ancient tribe by a sadistic policeman participating in the search party. The line between savage and civilian is blurred ...
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Overview

Experimental director Rolf DeHeer's film The Tracker depicts a controversial moment in the Australian justice system, in doing so taking on a popular topic among Australian filmmakers--the complicated and too often racist relationship between Aboriginals and locals. When an Aboriginal tracker (David Gulpilil) leads the manhunt for a fugitive native, a series of atrocities are performed on the ancient tribe by a sadistic policeman participating in the search party. The line between savage and civilian is blurred beyond recognition when Fanatic (Gary Sweet), the policeman, massacres a large group of peaceful Aboriginals. It eventually becomes clear that the tracker, who purposely keeps the Aboriginal a half-day ahead of the search party, is in control of the operation and has his own mysterious agenda. DeHeer takes a unique approach in the direction of this film; opting to show graphic paintings by artist Peter Coad during violent moments in lieu of filming bloody scenes among the actors. The drama itself is often contradicted by haunting, plaintive songs with lyrics written by DeHeer himself. ~ Tracie Cooper
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Special Features

Bonus documentary Gulpilil: One Red Blood by Darlene Johnson
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
The signature moment in Rolf de Heer's The Tracker comes early. While hunting in the outback for an aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman, three soldiers and their aboriginal guide come across a tribal meeting. The leader of the soldiers, identified in the credits only as The Fanatic (Gary Sweet) brutally takes charge, goading a younger man, The Follower (Damon Gameau) into harassing and humiliating the aboriginals, demanding information about the fugitive. The scene quickly escalates into a massacre, but just as the violence is imminent, de Heer abruptly cuts away to a primitive painting of the ensuing mayhem. It's a jarring effect, and the cynical impulse is to assume that, with limited means, de Heer lacked confidence in his ability to portray the violence in a realistic and emotionally powerful way. But as de Heer returns to this technique throughout the film, it becomes oddly effective. The primal nature of the paintings themselves gives the film a kind of instant, contemplative historicity that nicely counters the somewhat overemphatic nature of the story and some of the performances. De Heer's use of long musical passages is less successful, and hinders his film's already lugubrious narrative flow. While the acting is uneven, David Gulpilil, in the title role, delivers a rich and forceful performance. The danger in presenting all of the characters as archetypes, which de Heer has done here, is that we may lose the human interest of the story, but Gulpilil subtly finds an emotional truth to the character and holds us rapt. His performance goes a long way toward rescuing the film from didacticism.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2005
  • UPC: 736899059224
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Art Mattan
  • Time: 1:35:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Gulpilil Tracker
Gary Sweet Fanatic
Damon Gameau Follower
Grant Page Veteran
Noel Wilton Fugitive
Technical Credits
Rolf de Heer Director, Score Composer, Songwriter, Producer, Screenwriter
James Currie Sound/Sound Designer
Beverley Freeman Costumes/Costume Designer, Production Designer
Bridget Ikin Executive Producer
Ian Jones Cinematographer
Karen Mahood Asst. Director
Bryce Menzies Executive Producer
Tania Nehme Editor
Domenico Procacci Executive Producer
Julie Ryan Producer
Graham Tardif Score Composer, Songwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Tracker
1. Escaping Natural Justice? [7:31]
2. Hunting the Fugitive [6:57]
3. Whiteman's Law, Whiteman's Jury [5:35]
4. Obsession, Duty and Doubt [7:46]
5. The Tracker Chained [7:16]
6. Hunters or the Hunted? [7:10]
7. Sacred Ground [7:17]
8. Death in the Desert [8:37]
9. The Chains of Command [12:48]
10. Blackman's Justice, Blackman's Jury [9:55]
11. Tribal Law [9:53]
12. End Credits [3:11]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Tracker
   Play Feature
   Select Scenes
   Special Features
      About Documentary - Gulpilil: One Red Blood
      Play Documentary
      About Us
         www.AfricanDiasporaDVD.com
         www.NYADFF.org
      Contact Us
         www.AfricanDiasporaDVD.com
         www.NYADFF.org
         DVD Authoring
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