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Thursday
Jan292015

Woman verses Nature: A Review of Tracks 

Woman verses Nature: A Review of Tracks 

by Amira Abdel-Malek

The narrative of the lone survivor and nomadic adventurer has existed for centuries. The story usually goes like this: boy becomes man as his encounter with the vast wilderness humbles him into maturity. Recent films such as 127 Hours and Into the Wild are contemporary versions of this archetype, but one thing hasn’t changed: the agent of the story only represents half of the planet’s population. So I was excited when Tracks, a film based on the book and real-life experience of renowned travel writer Robyn Davidson, caught my attention at the beginning of the summer. Davidson’s international bestseller has been successfully transformed into a refreshing film that takes the ‘Man vs Nature’ theme and places a dynamic female at the helm. Mia Wasikowska brilliantly conveys the complexity of Davidson’s personality: at times she is reserved, often alienating, but also loving, authentic, strong and vulnerable. Disenchanted with 1970s Australian society, Davidson embarks on a journey with four camels and her dog Diggity across 1700 miles of Outback to the Indian Ocean. Sponsored by National Geographic magazine, aided by a friendly photographer and an Aboriginal elder, she struggles both physically and internally to come to terms with her history as well as her present solitude. Rest assured, though, this film is not an overly sensationalized effort, regardless of its wide shots of rippling horizons and pulsating soundtrack. The cinematography is in the service of an understated art film that may have gone under the radar of movie goers. Unlike the attention received by her more epic counterpart in Into the Wild, Davidson is not as concerned with her immortalization. Both protagonists reject the greedy and hypocritical aspects of their societies. However, rather than having messianic goals, Davidson goes down a path of self-reflection and self-acceptance. For that reason, her travel tale forms a striking contrast with our modern Zeitgeist ruled by social media and global connectivity. While Davidson was able to disappear from view, this inspiring film returns her to the public eye and recaptures her unique nomadic adventure. Anyone who appreciates an off-the-beaten-track story will find value in this one.

 

 

 

 

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