Monday, 21 July 2014

Mona and David

For many of you the names Mona and David would be synonymous with the wondrous Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart and David Walsh, the eccentric owner of the Museum and his massive art collection. Now I have raved about Mona before and I love it so much that I try to visit Hobart at least once every 18 months to see what new works he has in store for us. The collection is always changing as David's philosophy is to replace artworks that are too popular!
David Walsh's Magnificent Mona
But this is not about David or his marvellous Mona Museum. This is about meeting Mona - the camel who starred in the recent Robyn Davidson movie Tracks. And it's about seeing the extraordinary David Gulpilil in the new movie Charlie's Country. This is a man who brings the screen alight.

So to Mona the camel first!
For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the current movie Tracks - it's the story of 27 year old Robyn riding alone on a perilous journey across the Australian desert to the sea with only a four camel caravan and her beloved dog Diggity for company. Her 1,700 mile trek began in 1977 in Alice Springs and ended 195 days later on the shores of the Indian Ocean. 
Just a short 195 day trek of 1,700 miles
The book left a profound impression on me when I read it many years ago and I was loathe to see the film and be disappointed. But I was persuaded and if you haven't seen it then I recommend that you do!
Mia Wasikowska (Robyn) with Mona - she was always second in line!
The 'real' Robyn seen here said "I'd like to think that an ordinary person is capable of anything" (photo Rick Smollan)
Recently I was in the magnificent Flinders Ranges and we headed out to see the Cameleers - Ryan and Natalie - a young couple enamoured with camels. When we arrived at their camp we were greeted by the cutest baby camel and his mother. I learnt that baby camels are born without a hump which would certainly be easier for the mother giving birth! But it was the thrill of meeting Mona the film star in the movie that really excited me!  If you're interested in doing a mini-Tracks with Ryan and Natalie (they do 1 hour - 15 day trips!) - and perhaps meeting Mona then go to
Now ain't that the cutest baby!
Smile for the camera - film star Mona
And so to David Gulpilil in the movie Charlie's Country (there's a giveaway below)
We have grown up with indigenous David Gulpilil - dancer and actor in movies including Walkabout, Storm Boy, Australia and Ten Canoes to name but a few. This was a man who was expected to take fame in his stride, the man who danced for the Queen at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973 and the man who has struggled to move between two totally different cultures. 

David in Walkabout
In May he won a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Charlie's Country the 4.5+ star film which goes some small way to tell his story. I found it majestic, confronting, sad, uplifting, devastating and yet there was a deeper understanding for me of the life he has lived and our impact on indigenous culture. I think it should be a must for all Australians - so I encourage you to see it if you can. Filmaker Rolf de Heer will be speaking about the movie at the up-coming Melbourne International Film Festival. I'll be there! If you want to join me then here is the link (but see the movie first!) You can read a fascinating interview with de Heer here
If you would like to see the movie here in Melbourne I have a 2 for 1 offer to see Charlie's Country - the first to email me on - the ticket/s are yours!

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