Film Screening: Ten Canoes


Mar 03, 2016, 6:00 pm


Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Ten Canoes
Ten Canoes

This series—presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia—will highlight the contribution that Indigenous filmmakers have made and how they are reshaping cinematic representations.

While Indigenous peoples from Australia have been portrayed in film since the beginning of the medium, it is only in the last two decades that Indigenous directors have taken control of the camera to tell their own stories in their own ways. In addition, non-Indigenous directors have had to re-examine how they tell Indigenous stories to ensure that they become true collaborations of meaningful exchange. Whether working independently or collaboratively, Indigenous peoples are taking ownership of their self-representation in documentary, musical, social realism, and avant-garde cinema.

Join us for the series.

Ten Canoes (2006) explores an Indigenous Australian story with a poignant message about the responsibilities of men as husbands and statesmen. Directed by Rolf de Heer, the film is set in Arnhem Land—one of the five regions of the Northern Territory of Australia—and it is the first Australian feature with dialogue in an Indigenous language. The film interweaves past and present using both color and black-and-white scenes inspired by the photographs of Donald Thomson, an anthropologist who worked in Arnhem Land in the mid-1930s. A discussion with Stephen Gilchrist, curator of Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, a current exhibition at the Harvard Art Museums, will follow the screening.


“Mesmerizing…Both the storyteller’s tale and the movie that contains it, transports you out of time.”

—Stephen Holden, New York Times


Film Screening (90 min., in various Yolngu dialects, with English subtitles) and Discussion.
Free and open to the public

Free event parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

Presented in partnership with the Harvard Art Museums

Download a letter-size poster.