David Gulpilil stars in this scorching colonial-era drama from director Rolf de Heer.
‘The Tracker is partly about the violent stain in Australian race relations, but it’s also about depictions of violence on the screen. The movie is incredibly direct and confronting in showing cruelty and humiliation, but it substitutes a series of paintings, created for the film by South Australian artist Peter Coad, for most of the explicit depictions of ultimate violence. These paintings disrupt the place that violent scenes usually occupy in violent cinema – there is no payoff for the viewer who wants the thrill of gore. Instead, each killing becomes a kind of instant history. The paintings could be from any time, representing a collective memory. Director Rolf de Heer is turning these despicable, unspeakable acts into a kind of cinematic cave painting.’ -Paul Byrnes, australianscreen.
See more events in Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits program.
Photographer Matt Nettheim’s image of David Gulpilil in character as The Tracker features in the exhibition Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, 10 November 2017 to 4 March 2018.