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Sunburnt Screens: An Australian Film Odyssey Ten Canoes

29 June 2024

In the Playhouse


Australia | 2006 | Yolngu Matha, English | Historical Drama

Direct from its Sydney Film Festival premiere, Rolf de Heer and Peter Djiggir’s cautionary tale of forbidden love is screening in a stunning new 4K restoration. The first Australian feature filmed entirely in Indigenous languages tells the story of an older man, Minygululu, who realises his younger brother, Dayindi, may try to steal away his third and youngest wife.

One of de Heer’s most distinct and memorable films.

The Guardian

A new 4K restoration direct from its Sydney Film Festival premiere

Shot on and around the beautiful Arafura Swamp, the film unfolds during a goose egg gathering expedition on which a young Dayindi (actor David Gulpilil’s son Jamie Gulpilil), is told of trouble in the mythical time of his ancestors which came of wrong love. Taking inspiration from the ethnographic photographs of Donald Thompson, de Heer uses Thomson’s representations of culture and reappropriates this cultural history telling a Yolngu story in Yolngu voice spoken in the Ganalbingu and Mandalpingu languages.

Presented by Sydney Opera House with Umbrella Entertainment and hosted by Alexei Toliopoulos


Watch a clip from the film

Cast and credits


Peter Djigirr

Director and screenwriter 
Rolf de Heer

Narrator David Gulpilil


Cruose Kurddal 
as Ridjimiraril

Jamie Gulpilil 
as Dayindi/Yeeralparil

Richard Birrinbirrin 
as Birrinbirrin

Other information

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