Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A red kelpie

from w
One of my favourites of the canines is the red kelpie. One of my brothers raised them, some of our farmer friends in the Mallee bred them. They are fine, intelligent, hard-working farm dogs. Well, tonight Peceli and I went to the movies to see 'Red Dog' and it was a captivating film, very Australian, and surprising to see a mining town celebrated by the story of a dog! I wonder how many kelpies they used to make this film because the dog certainly was the star. A great story from a novel by a fine writer, de Berniers.

Here is one review from a West Australian paper.

Red Dog (PG) 4 stars

Koko the dog, Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Luke Ford, Noah Taylor

Director: Kriv Stenders

You'll like this if you liked The Black Stallion, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Amelie, Ratatouille, Marley and Me.

Early on in this adaptation of Louis de Bernieres 1970s-set novel celebrating the life and times of the famed four- legged Pilbara traveller there's a wonderfully droll exchange that nails the appeal of Red Dog - and, more importantly, captures the magic of this deceptively canny, visually striking movie.

A truckie named Thomas (played by Luke Ford) who has just rolled into Dampier is stunned to find the community distraught over a dying dog in the back of a pub. He's not just any dog, the publican named Jack says, he's Red Dog, "probably the most famous dog in all of Australia".

Thomas, thinking he's heard of Red Dog, asks if he was the one who warned about the fire or the one who saved a child's life. But Noah Taylor's Jack snaps: "No, no, no: you're looking at it all wrong. It's not what he did. It's who he was . . . is, I mean."

In other words, Red Dog has passed into WA folklore not because he performed extraordinary feats.

Indeed, his legendary travels, which are said to have taken him as far south as Cottesloe beach and as far north as Japan, are as much a product of liquored-up imaginations and tall-tale telling as eyewitness accounts.
Rather, the itinerant red cloud kelpie was cherished by the Pilbara community during the first WA mining boom, said the filmmakers, because everyone he encountered projected on to the feisty, stubborn son-of-a-bitch their own determination to survive in unbelievably harsh conditions. He symbolised their oddball situation and their scrappy natures.



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