Satellite Boy

Satellite Boy (Catriona McKenzie, 2012) wr. Catriona McKenzie, prod. David Jowsey, dp Geoffrey Simpson; Cameron Wallaby, David Gulpilil, Joseph Pedley; Pete, a 10 year old boy lives in the Kimberley with his grandfather in an old abandoned outdoor cinema; when his grandfather's home is threatened with demolition, Pete sets off for the city with his best friend to try and save his home; WA; Australian general release 20 June 2013

Straddling the worlds of Aboriginal tradition and Western law with graceful wisdom, generational drama Satellite Boy spotlights the diversity of indigenous narratives and the power of storytelling, resonating alongside the likes of recent Australian films like 10 Canoes, Samson & Delilah and The Sapphires. Nuanced performances by noted Australian thesp David Gulpilil and 10-year-old newcomer Cameron Wallaby, as well as the extraordinary widescreen compositions of lenser Geoffrey Simpson, will ensure international attention for writer-director Catriona McKenzie's serenely confident feature debut. Eddie Cockrell, Variety.

Writer-director Catriona McKenzie spent years developing Satellite Boy and you can feel that passion in every shot; the film has a dreamy ambience that transcends its dedication to verisimilitude. Using the tropes of the kid’s family film, she’s made a movie with the power of a parable. Short, direct, and immediate, it’s simple storytelling that pushes us to anticipate and indeed hope for, a happy ending. But underneath its feel-good form there is disquiet. In this film’s tight little plot, she observes with no outrage or rancour, lives of dysfunction, neglect, and poverty – and frankly – a casual racism that’s truly disturbing. Peter Galvin, SBS.

The distinctive Australian outback setting with its arid landscape, coarse grasses, tender pink sunsets and skies filled with sparkling stars form a rich backdrop for this gentle coming of age story about a young Aboriginal boy who discovers his connection to the land and his roots. Television director Catriona McKenzie's film delicately explores the links of family, the ties of ancestors and the inherent sense of belonging through a straightforward narrative in which 10 year old Pete (Cameron Wallaby) is pushed into taking his destiny in his own hands. There's truth and simplicity in the way McKenzie tells the story, linking the youngster with his crusty old grandfather Old Jagamarra (David Gulpilil) and the wealth of wisdom shared, although the film's visuals are considerably more effective than its narrative. Louise Keller, urbancinefile.


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