My Name is Gulpilil movie review

In Gulpilil’s words “the story of his story”

What’s it about?

A documentary exploring the life and work of David Gulipilil in his own words, and through his films.

What did we think?

Peter Linning says: David Gulipilil’s legacy in the cinema of Australia is already assured, and this documentary from director Molly Reynolds attempts to dive into Gulpilil’s personal history and provide an insight into the man himself – in Gulpilil’s words “the story of his story”. While a beautifully composed film, the absence of any other interviewees sharing their stories ultimately limits its scope.

Using a wealth of footage from his films and incredibly intimate interviews captured since his diagnosis with lung cancer, the documentary touches upon his early life as a bushman, his journey to mainstream recognition, but spends most of its time with the present-day (at time of filming) Gulpilil as he reflects on his life.

The filmmaking is almost hypnotic when it works, blending Gulpili’s art with CT-scan imagery, and combining archival film footage with contemporary photography of Gulpilil revisiting the film’s locations. Yet these moments are sporadic, as the film’s pace tends to drag and we end up getting neither an examination of his impact on Australian cinema or a deep insight into the man himself. 5/10


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