In a reading of the Rolf de Heer film Ten Canoes this article explores the pervasive, contemporary challenge of culture difference and its representation. Focusing on notions of sacredness, as one node of extreme difference, the article argues that older formulations of sacredness which bifurcated spirit and flesh are now being replaced by more holistic understandings. As western film audiences engage with representations of difference in Indigenous cultures, a set of questions are raised: what is the nature of real dialogue between different cultures? Can such dialogues move beyond mute recording, or silent respect, or automatic celebration? Can they enter a new space of dialectical relationship in which different cultural perspectives can be fully investigated, without making the other culture a static, or oversimplified or iconic abstraction?
Field of Research
200501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature 200212 Screen and Media Culture
Socio Economic Objective
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture