Death of David Gulpilil, great figure of Australian cinema revealed in The Hike of …

Great figure of Australian cinema of aboriginal origin, David Gulpilil died at the age of 68 of cancer, diagnosed four years ago. He made his film debut at 16 in the dazzling “La Randonnée” by Nicolas Roeg in 1971.

Death of david gulpilil, great figure of australian cinema revealed in the hike of...
Nour Films

Sad day for the world of cinema, Australia in particular. Australian aboriginal actor David Gulpilil died on November 29 of lung cancer at the age of 68, four years after being diagnosed.

“It is with deep sadness that I share with the people of South Australia the passing of an iconic artist of a generation, who shaped the history of Australian cinema and Aboriginal portrayal on screen – David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu “ Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall said in a statement on Monday.

This “actor, dancer, singer and painter” as recalled by the Prime Minister began his film career at the age of 16, in La Randonnée by Nicolas Roeg, in 1971. In this extraordinary film carrying an emotional charge to split the stones in two, Gulpilil played a young aboriginal crossing the road of a very young boy and his big sister (played by Jenny Agutter), wandering in the Australian bush after the suicide of their father.

Making her Walkabout, that is to say his initiation rite marking his passage to adulthood within the aboriginal tribes, and consisting in surviving in the desert on his own, David Gulpilil printed the film with his presence.

Here is the trailer again …

In a film career spanning 50 years, the actor starred in films that have become classics. In 1977, the great Peter Weir called on him to give the answer to Richard Chamberlain in the very solid Last Wave. A drama imbued with the fantastic in which unusual atmospheric phenomena appear in Australia, heralding a coming cataclysm according to the beliefs of the country’s aborigines.

On the poster for the cult comedy Crocodile Dundee, a box office hit at the time, he also appeared in the cast of the formidable western The Proposition by John Hillcoat, and The Tracker by Rolf de Heer; story in which he played in an Australia of the 1920s an aboriginal hunted by a group of men, accused of having killed a white woman.

Exorcise old demons

Playing in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, David Gulpilil was also very moving in the film Charlie’s Country in 2013. The story of a former Aboriginal warlord lost between two cultures to the point of returning to live in the bush like the ancients , while the Australian government is amplifying its grip on the traditional way of life of its community.

Below is the trailer for the film.

A film which also exorcised old demons for the actor, who very quickly fell into alcoholism after a dazzling start to his career. “David was taught how to get drunk” said Rolf De Heer, the film’s director, “and then how to behave to give the impression of being sober”. In 1976, while on the set of Mad Dog Morgan, he and Dennis Hopper were even arrested by the police.

Back in his place of residence, Gulpilil detoxifies (many Aboriginal communities in Arnhem territory have banned the sale and consumption of alcohol), but he is exiled from his community after an argument and becomes a “long grasser” , a homeless man in Darwin, before ending up in prison.

Once released from prison and sober, David Gulpilil was able to join Rolf De Heer and take a full part in the film. The two men thus left in the wild spaces of the National Park of Kakadu, in order to find places of filming. A rejuvenating and emotional journey for both of them. Then the two men have “faces the last important test in order to be able to make the film: the return to the community from which David had been exiled” cas the filmmaker said.

Welcomed with open arms, Gulpilil was able to fully emancipate himself from his past. Finally, the two friends took the boat to Gulparil, Gulpilil’s birthplace. “There was the tree under which he was born”, Rolf De Heer recalled, “There was the rock where his father had sat down to wait for him. It was his debut, sixty years ago.”

Sour ultimate film will be a documentary dedicated to him, My Name is Gulpilil, unheard of with us.

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