Sequence Analysis for Discussion;

what can designers and illustrators learn from editing, photography and meaning in film ?


GB Aust; 1971,

screenplay Edward Bond after the novel by James Vance Marshall (originally published as The Children).

Photography and direction Nicholas Roeg.

Editing Antony Gibbs and Alan Patillo.

Music John Barry.

Production designer Brian Eatwell.

The girl is played by Jenny Agutter, the younger brother Lucien John, the Father John Meillon. Running Time 100mins.

A girl and her brother are left stranded in the outback after their father kills himself. They survive and get back to civilisation with the help of a young aboriginal man who speaks no English. Failing in his courtship of the girl, the man kills himself. Like many of Roeg's films, the theme is the failure of love, the thiness of civilisation, the possibility of other deeper impulses. When asked which film was his favourite, he answered that "Walkabout was possibly the most enjoyable actually to make because it was so isolated; so much physical effort; so detached from the technical paraphenalaia; so less full of any sophistry in the process of making; and it was nice to work with the young girl and the young boy.... he was my son."


Opening Sequence, titles and abandonment in the Outback.

The Director; Nicholas Roeg, b.1928, began work as tea boy at MGM Boreham Wood outside London, cinematographer on Lawrence of Arabia (2nd Unit) Fahrenheit 451, Far from the Madding Crowd.
As director,

Performance, (1971),
The Man who fell to Earth (1980),
Don't Look Now (1976),
Bad Timing (1982),
Eureka ( 1982),
Insignificance (1985),
Castaway (1987),
Track 29 (1989),
The Witches (1990).

Recent commercials, Empathy Shampoo, Esso, Moonlight Chocolates, and a BT commercial shelved because it would "overexcite the market'.
"life isn't like a Galsworthy story or a priestly play, that flows on and on, like this; a,b,c, and then she married him and so on. It happens in jagged little moments. Accidental encounters and random fortuitous events guide our lives." Take 10.
"I've always wanted to get my thoughts over over visually." Take 10
Roeg had scouted locations while acting as photographer on The Sundowners; he had 25 copies of the script made, the last delivered of which attracted financial support.

1. Sound and Music
2. Camerawork
3. The Father
4. The Daughter
5. The Son
6. Australia depicted
7. Landscape
8. The City
9. Food
10. Editing sound and image
11. Colour.
12. Meaning
13. Symbolism
14. The Mood; "I think any reflection in life is melancholic - any form of introspection is necessarily melancholic... Between nostagia and melancholia I myself lean towards melancholia." " Take 10.

"When in this film Roeg brings us up against a brick wall, the result is not only abrasive, it is concussive; because behind the wall, as we see, are two desolations, not one - the desolation of the city and the desolation of the desert." Basil Wright, The Long View, St Albans Press St Albans 1976.

"Upon the vast,incomprehensible pattern of some primal morality greater than ever the human mind can grasp is drawn the little pathetic pattern of man's moral life and struggle, pathetic, almost ridiculous. The little fold of law and order, the little walled city within which man has to defend himself against the vaste enormity of nature, becomes always too small, and the pioneers venturing out with the code of the walled city upon them, die in the bonds of that code, free and yet unfree, preaching the walled city and looking to the waste." D.J.Lawrence, A Study of Thomas Hardy ,quoted in the context of the opening to Walkabout in Sinyard, see above.




Neil Sinyard, The Films of Nicholas Roeg , Letts London 1991.
Hacker and Price, Take 10, Contemporary British Film Directors , interview with Roeg included, OUP Oxford 1992.
Christopher Lyon, The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers (Films), Firethorn, 1984.