Odds are, you’ll sound like Rutger Hauer talking about moon beams and tears in the rain; it may sound beautiful but your audience has little to relate to. [Note to readers: I’m not against pure cinema; I just generally can’t handle it for more than thirty minutes and I find it difficult to write about.] The plot may be minimal and the film may primarily define itself visually but those two factors intersect to provide the film with a multi-layered subtext.
First, as Roger Ebert has noted in his Great Movies essay, the film is about the difficulty of communication between two separate cultures.
Rather than focusing only on the contrasts between civilization and savagery, the film considers the parallels between modernity and its ancestors in tribal systems and unfortunately suggests no solution to the problems which Roeg presents.
In a similar manner, Xavier Eang Lee in his analysis, “The Colored Man’s Burden,” interprets a poignant scene in the film which juxtaposes the Aborigine boy’s gutting of a kangaroo with cuts to a professional butcher in his shop: This scene does not demonize Western society, but uses the assaulted sensibilities of the viewer, offended by the brutality of the butchery, to remind him/her that the most significant difference between the two worlds, civilized and savage, is that Western society demonizes the personality of the uncivilized; the concept of civility pretends that the connection between actor and action has been severed, that interaction which remains impersonal is of higher status. Grabowski’s scene, the face of the butcher is not in the field of view, his identity is separate from his deeds.
The children even appeared to be panting like dogs while in class leading me to believe that Roeg wanted us to see them as a herd of animals rather than individuals.
At that point I understood that there was going to be a hint of societal mockery throughout the film.
First, Raffaella actually starts the abuse with her constant berating of and lording over Gennarino on the yacht.
Secondly, this "romance" is not taking place in anything resembling a civilized situation - by virtue of their circumstances, the characters have been thrown back into a setting that mimics prehistoric times, when survival (of the individual and of the species) dictated coupling.
(1971) is one of those films that one could justifiably write either briefly or at great length about.
The script, an adaptation of James Vance Marshall’s novel, was rumored to have been between 14 and 60 pages and can be effectively summarized in three sentences.