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My Name Is Gulpilil (M)

Next screening Wednesday 7 Jul from 7pm to 8:42pm

By Margaret River HEART | (M) hr 102 mins

“And this story, it’s about me. And no one else can do the life of me, it’s only me. I can do the life about me.” David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu

In what is very likely his final film, the great Australian actor David Gulpilil faces his own mortality: he is dying of lung cancer.

Holding the camera figuratively in the palm of his hand, David performs directly for whoever might be out there in the future looking at him, to what is for him his final audience. He talks about what it is to stare down death, and what it was to live a life such as he did, a dizzying mix of traditional Aboriginal ways and modern Hollywood excess, and everything in between. It is pure, unmediated and unvarnished David Gulpilil, finally able to say in a film exactly what he wants to say.

He reminisces about his films, and his fame, and the effects of both on a tribal boy from Arnhem Land. He talks about acting, and how his dancing in his own culture is really the basis of what made him famous. And now he looks toward going home, to his own funeral, the specifications of which he’s very particular about. Visited by his sisters, including his twin Mary, they plan for his passing.

But life interferes with David’s march towards his personal end… in his words, “I should have been dead long time ago!” Despite the diagnoses and the prognostications of finality, birthdays pass and David resolutely refuses to die. In this, his final film although it may not be, the great Australian actor David Gulpilil shows what a survivor he is, and how he came to be the living legend we know him to be.

  • Background

In 2017, actor David Gulpilil was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and given a prognosis of 6 months to live. But always one to defy the odds, four years later Gulpilil marked 50 years on cinema screens and walked the red carpet at the world premiere of My Name is Gulpilil. Gulpilil is an iconic figure of Australian cinema. His mesmerising, electrifying presence has leapt off the big screen and changed Australian screen representation forever.

The only actor to appear in both of the two highest grossing Australian films of all time, Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Australia (2008), Gulpilil is known throughout the world for his unforgettable performances – from his breakthrough in Walkabout (1971) to films including Storm Boy (1976), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), The Last Wave (1977), The Tracker (2002), Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), The Proposition (2005) and his Cannes Best Actor award winning role in Charlie’s Country (2013). Integral to the telling of so many legendary screen stories, Gulpilil, terminally ill, generously shares his own story with us in My Name is Gulpilil. The actor, dancer, singer and painter takes us boldly on the journey that is his most extraordinary, culture-clashing life. My Name is Gulpilil is directed by Molly Reynolds and produced by Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, David Gulpilil and Molly Reynolds.