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Walkabout

Although in many respects Roeg’s most accessible and affecting work, Walkabout is also typical of the director’s films in that it operates on a number of different levels and refuses to be pigeonholed. It is, on one level, a children’s adventure film, about a girl and a boy (Jenny Agutter and Lucien John, actually Roeg’s son) who are lost in the Australian desert and are rescued by an Aborigine (David Gumpilil) on his walkabout. On another level, it is an adult film, treating mature and serious themesoinnocence and experience, sexual repression, environment and ecologyoin a complex, sometimes violent way. Like Performance, Walkabout also deals with a clash of cultures. And like most of Roeg’s films, it is a weird love story in which communication is almost, but not quite, made. The Aborigine is attracted to the girl, but his strange courtship dance frightens her and she spurns his love. The search for a simpler form of life links Roeg with two great writers about childhood whom his films often either quote or allude tooWilliam Blake and D. H. Lawrenceoand the call of the natural, uncivilised landscape will be evident again in Castaway.

U.K.-Australia, 1971.
102 mins.

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