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Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 21, 2015

Its reputation is justified, the apotheosis of a zoomy style & period, one which tends to look awful next to the less gimmicky & more consciously beautiful movements in film history, but which in Roeg’s extremely quirky, deft hands, actually turns out to be very beautiful, though the film’s very difficult, full of the most rigourous intellectual montage & elaborate parallels, at this point you can still work it all out, and it still means something, story’s admirably simple, its development has the effect & pleasure of a fairy tale, which like the best of which has all sorts of modern pertinence, that being the case the aborigine boy is not just a picturesque native, just as, for that matter, the white children are not picturesque bourgeoisie, the opening is quite musical, inasmuch as it’s all pitch & duration, formal, and not sensical, the dad part is quite scary, the trek surreal and yet quite natural, the white kids are strange & credible and quite fascinating; the sex that would throw later Roeg into such desperate & unpleasant imbalance is, predictably, all over the place, but here there’s still meaning & even edification, the long and distressing intercut between the naked swimmer and the naked hunter look at first to be an exploitative otherwise, until the end makes clear that European sensibilities, which mystify & denaturalize the trajectories of procreation (one does not necessarily agree, but it’s well & sincerely argued, & the idea, with its immemorial precedents, is at least semi-honourable), are the ones that make bodies & what they do pornographic (cf. Emerald Forest), the death that results has a mythical weight, the affectless response, especially for the girl, responsible but not guilty, is horrifying, & the brick and suburbia ending very effectively sums up what has been an extremely powerful, because it’s not just simpleminded, condemnation of a material culture that’s become so tinny and technological that it’s separated us from the life processes that give us humanity …