1996, 54 Minutes
Narritjin Maymuru, leader of the Manggalili clan, was one of the people Ian Dunlop worked with most closely during his long term film project at Yirrkala. This is a personal and sad film about Narritjin—artist, thinker, and passionate interpreter of the world through his Yolngu beliefs.
Narritjin is sitting on the verandah of his house at Yirrkala quietly painting. It is early 1974. He talks about the troubles with the mine and alcohol amongst many young men.
The film then moves to 1976. Narritjin and his family are again staying at Yirrkala, following the death of his youngest son. Ian Dunlop shows Narritjin the film he shot at Djarrakpi two years earlier. For Narritjin it embodies some of the spiritual power of Djarrakpi itself. Before it can be screened Narritjin must sing over it. The next day the graves of his eldest son and daughter are cemented over. Narritjin validates both the film and the cementing of the graves by joining them, through ritual song, to the spiritual forces of his own far away land at Djarrakpi.
Over the following years the stresses of life at Yirrkala took a terrible toll on Narritjin's family. Many of his children died in their thirties or early forties. In 1981 Narritjin died of a heart attack. More truly he died of a broken heart.
A Film Australia National Interest Program produced in association with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producer/Director/Co-writer: Ian Dunlop
Narrator: Ian Dunlop
Featured People: Narritjin Maymuru
Running Time: 54 Minutes
Classification: Exempt from classification
Curriculum Links: Indigenous Studies; Studies of Religion; Legal Studies - Contesting laws: Heritage, culture and land; SOSE/HSIE; Australian History - of particular relevance for NSW History Stage 5, Topic 6 'Changing Rights and Freedoms' Section A: Aboriginal Peoples - Change over Time; NSW History Stage 4 'Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Colonisation and Contact History: What has been the nature and impact of colonisation on Aboriginal, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples?'; English; Performing & Visual Arts. Teachers’ notes and background material are included.