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The Tracker


Presented by VIVID x Golden Age of Humanity guest curator Megan Davis

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More than twenty years since its release, Rolf De Heer's mythic Western The Tracker has only grown richer and more haunting in its depiction of Colonialism's violent legacy. It is 1922, and government trooper the Fanatic (Gary Sweet) is leading an expedition to capture the Fugitive (Noel Wilton), an Aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. He and his white associates, the naive Follower and the jaded Veteran, recruit a skilled Aboriginal Tracker (David Gulpilil) to navigate their way through the outback, but as the pursuit grows more dangerous the crew begins to turn on each other and lines of loyalty are drawn in the sand.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this film contains images and voices of deceased persons.

About the Curator: Scientia Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Society (PVCS) at UNSW Sydney and holds the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law and is director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law. Professor Davis is the 2024-2025 Whitlam Fraser Harvard Chair in Australian Studies and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. Prof Davis is a Sydney Peace Prize Laureate for the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart in 2022 and in 2023 Prof Davis was named on TIME Magazine’s TIME NEXT100 list of the Next Generation of Global leaders. She was also named Marie Claire “Powerhouse of the Year” in 2023. She is a previous Overall Winner of the AFR Women of Influence (now Women of Leadership) awards in 2018 and has previously been named on the AFR Annual Cultural Power list and AFR's Australia's top Legal Powerbrokers list. Prof Davis was co-chair of the Uluṟu Dialogue and worked on the constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples for over twelve years and was instrumental in the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart. She is a globally recognised expert in human rights and Indigenous peoples rights and was formerly expert and Chair of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and expert member and Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Why You Should See This Film

The stunning landscape and poetic score (from legendary Gunditjmara and Bundjalung musician Archie Roach) provide a stark contrast to the human desperation and ugliness, balanced by Gulpilli's portrayal of a man possessed with incredible stoicism and grace.The Tracker's legacy can be felt in The Nightingale and Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country, but one of the most singular aspects of de Heer's film is in his depiction of violence. Faced with the dilemma of replicating acts of hatred or tactfully turning away from historical injustice, he chooses a third way: vivid paintings that convey the chaos and pain of memory.

Rolf de Heer
David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau
90 minutes

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