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Competition - The Tracker


- In Venice Rolf De Heer's new film: an accusatory finger pointed on the cruel and bloody period of Australian history

Competition - The Tracker

You could be mistaken for thinking that this is a western by Sergio Leone but it’s the Australian outback. A land of a deep red colour that burns under the cruel Australian sun and seems full of the blood of victims it is impossible to forget. Australia’s bloody recent past is the subject of Rolf De Heers latest film, The Tracker, screened in competition. Set in 1922 in the Australian outback, three whites are hunting a black jail escapee, with the help of a mysterious Aborigenal tracker who is not what he appears to be. This was a particularly cruel and bloody period of Australian history when Native Australians were murdered without a second thought. De Heer wrote the screenplay ten years ago, but the project was shelved until the Adelaide Arts Festival came up with funding. After several rewrites during filmmaking, the story gradually changed from a thriller to a more politically oriented film that does not hesitate to point an accusatory finger. Indulgence is not a feature of this “on the road” journey through a torrid landscape where the tracks of earlier visitors are hidden by bushes and stones. indulgent film. “This is not the right way to solve this problem. The past is past but my film may be useful for people to come up with a new solution,” said the director. “In Australia we still have to come to terms with our history if we are to build a new reality.” Australian history is full of authentic massacres made more terrible by De Heers’ skill in telling a story: instead of the bloody aftermath of killing, he shows us original paintings where the brutality is accentuated by strong colours and the two-dimensional figures. He also uses music: an important component of Aboriginal society used for storytelling and keeping traditions and beliefs alive, especially through songs. “I felt that dialogue and the action were not sufficient to tell the whole story of these four protagonists so I used original music by Graham Tardif and the Aboriginal songs by Archie Roach were meant to make the content easier to understand or even “subvert” it. Cast member, Damon Gameau who makes his acting debut in Tracker says this film contains an important message for everybody. “It is important for my generation to find a common ground for reconciliation with the world and the Aboriginal culture.”
Italy’s Domenico Procacci who co-produced The Tracker said that he was “convinced this film will touch the emotions of many people despite the fact that is centres on a world that is unknown to many of us. Given all the problems associated with immigration, it is more and more difficult for people of different races to live together in harmony.”

(Translated from Italian)

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