Yolngu Boy (2001)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Audio Bites-How Do I Pronounce Yolngu?
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||84:58 (Case: 83)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Stephen Johnson|
Twentieth Century Fox
John Sebastian Pilakui
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Mars, Adidas, others|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Australian Aboriginal culture is described as one of the oldest living cultures on Earth. It is changing through contact with modern Western culture, but they are actively trying to preserve their history, their mythos and their ethos. They have one big thing in their favour - they are living in one of the most isolated places on the planet. Where? Arnhem Land, where outsiders need special permission to intrude. The makers of this film got that special permission, and much more. They got active cooperation, and constant critique to help them tell a story that was accurate, as well as interesting.
Yolngu Boy is about three boys on the verge of manhood. Not manhood in the Western meaning. Not a case of reaching an age where they can drink or vote, nor passing a driver's licence test. Their transition from boyhood to manhood happens when they are judged ready for "ceremony". Once they have been through "ceremony" they can participate in men's business. These are three boys who grew up together, who were initiated together, but who are starting to head in different directions:
Lorrpu and Milika have been chosen for ceremony - they are learning what they need to know. Botj has not been chosen, yet. He will still be a boy after they are men. This is a major stress. Botj will be going back to jail, too. This is too much for Lorrpu - he gets Botj out of the hospital, and they set out to trek to Darwin...
There are numerous flashbacks in this film, which take a bit of getting used to. Basically, any time the film is concentrating on children, it is probably a flashback. When it is concentrating on teenagers, it is probably current-day. The other thing that takes a little getting used to is the blend of reality and mythos - the scenes of the spirit-man seem real, and are, in a sense.
If the idea of hunting upsets you, be warned that these boys are hunting to survive. The moment of the kill is not shown, so it's not too rough. There is one unpleasant moment in a crocodile poacher's camp, but it really is momentary.
There are some elements that made me uncomfortable - the petrol sniffing, for one, and the slum outside Darwin, for another. But there is some real joy in this film, with the scene in the rock pool being just one example. This is a sympathetic portrayal, but there are still some sharp edges of reality poking through. It made me a little more aware of a culture that is quite a long way from mine (about 2,000 kilometres or so north...).
"Time is not a line, it's a circle"
This film is presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1, but is not 16x9 enhanced. That's a shame - the picture is beautifully clear, and 16x9 enhancement would have helped even more.
The picture is quite sharp and quite clear with excellent shadow detail and no low level noise.
Colour is excellent - the bright sunlight of the Northern Territory lends itself to deep, fully-saturated colours. There's no oversaturation or colour bleed.
There are no film artefacts. There's some aliasing (to be expected on a picture this sharp), and a little bit of moire. There's very little in the way of background shimmer, and what there is might well be heat haze rather than MPEG shimmer. This is a clean picture.
There are no subtitles. I wish there were, so I could see how some things are spelled.
The disc is single sided and single layered, so there is no layer change. It's OK - there isn't enough on this disc to stress the capacity of the single layer, so we don't have to suffer overcompression.
The only soundtrack on this disc is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 one.
The dialogue is clear and generally readily understood, even with some strong accents. Audio sync is never a problem.
The score includes quite a variety of songs. There are some contemporary bands (Regurgitator, for example), and quite a few songs from Yothu Yindi (unsurprising - the film is sponsored by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, in part). It is an effective combination, backed up by extra scoring from Mark Ovenden.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is not marked as surround encoded, but my decoder found something to play with - one scene in particular (in the community centre, when Botj is sniffing petrol) is remarkable for its surround sound. If your decoder only works on marked soundtracks, you'll miss out - I hope that's not the case. The subwoofer wasn't used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is animated, with music, and an opening transition.
This is the trailer aimed at interesting the art-house crowd. It makes an interesting comparison with the next one.
This trailer aims at getting young people interested in the film. It uses a couple of terms I'd have thought were inappropriate to Australia.
We get interviews with:
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I cannot find any record of this film being released in Region 1, yet.
Yolngu Boy is an interesting and worthwhile film, given a decent transfer onto DVD.
The video quality is rather good, impaired only by not being 16x9 enhanced.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are limited, but interesting.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|