Ten Canoes Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first feature film to be shot entirely in Aboriginal language (predominantly Ganalbingu), Ten Canoes is set both in the past (centuries ago, before the coming of white people to Australia) and in the Ganalbingu mythical past.
  • Director: Peter Djigirr and Rolf de Heer
  • Genre(s): Adventure, Drama, Comedy
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 90 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. A marvel of warm collaboration and shared jokes about husbands and wives, shot both in dreamscape color and pristine black and white.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Kuipers
    100
    Anthropology and entertainment are marvelously married in Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes. The first feature in an Australian Aboriginal language feels authentic to the core as it tells a cautionary tale set 1,000 years ago.
  3. Reviewed by: Megan Lehmann
    90
    In telling this ancient story with style and humor, de Heer and his Aboriginal collaborators promote cultural understanding and acceptance by stealth, if you will.
  4. Inspired by anthropologist Donald Thomson's early-20th-century photographs, this collaboration between a Western filmmaker and the native people of Ramingining is an impressive achievement of ethnographic cinema.
  5. 80
    It's a fascinating immersion within a highly ritualized Stone Age oral culture that, at least according to tradition, existed almost unchanged for thousands of years before the European arrival.
  6. Offers another way into these complex indigenous people, through storytelling as haunting as their artwork.
  7. 63
    It's a thriller that refuses to thrill. It taunts us with resolution and mysteries, then slaps our hand for reaching out for a conclusion.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Tj
    Jun 4, 2007
    6
    The film is beautifully shot, but it is really quite wooden. The voiceover narration combined with quite stiff performances makes the whole The film is beautifully shot, but it is really quite wooden. The voiceover narration combined with quite stiff performances makes the whole thing feel like a half-hearted reenactment...it never comes to life. There is little attempt to penetrate into the real lives and personalities of the characters. We have to be content to peer at their exotic faces and the exotic setting. The self-conscious references to the "story" are supposed to sound spontaneous, but are as stiff and staged as everything else. And, it isn't much of a story. I can't help wondering if reviewers would be as tolerant of the wooden posing of the characters if it wasn't about aboriginal people. There just isn't much to this film. The NY Times review compares it to the Inuit film "The Fast Runner." All I can say is if you liked this film, see "The Fast Runner" because it's a much better film. Expand