A clip from Mike Willesee’s The Hunting Party (1990) shows David Gulpilil and others in a swamp hunting for goanna. David is a Yolngu man of the Mandhalpuyngu, speech of the Djinba language. The group convince Willesee to enter the water on the premise of there being no crocodiles. Gulpilil in voice-over tells us that in fact, there was a crocodile present, and that Willesee was none the wiser. Present day, David shows us his impoverished living conditions. David talks to camera about sharing his culture and country with Australia and the rest of the world, and introduces the concept of 'one red blood’. Summary by Romaine Moreton.
A generous film that is the result of a collaboration between the subject (David Gulpilil) and the filmmaker (Darlene Johnson). Gulpilil invites us into his world, and offers a narrative that attempts to translate between Indigenous world view and Western sensibility. The title of the film One Red Blood is Gulpilil’s declaration of connectedness, of the world beyond the human experience, of all creatures belonging to the same inhabitable world of the Dreaming.
This film is important in that it speaks about Indigenous philosophy expressed by Gulpilil as being of 'one red blood’ and is comparable to the Eastern philosophical tradition of the presence of the Divine in all things. Such insight into Indigenous world view is seldom expressed, and his capacity to do so ensures that David Gulpilil continues to be a person – culturally and creatively – of incredible artistic significance to Indigenous peoples and Australian society alike. One Red Blood is Gulpilil’s story, a time for Gulpilil – after extensive filmic experience – to speak directly to the world as himself, rather than through the characters through which he has become known locally and internationally. Gulpilil’s filmography includes films such as Walkabout, Stormboy, Tracker and The Proposition.
This program has also screened on NITV, National Indigenous Television
A documentary about the career of Indigenous actor, dancer, and cultural delegate, David Gulpilil, using interview as well as archival footage.
Notes by Romaine Moreton