Charlie's Country

Charlie's Country Imagery

Liquor Restriction Sign (Visual Imagery)

Charlie's Country opens with the visual imagery of a stationary shot of a black and white painted sign posted at the side of a remote road in the bush. The sign is to notify anyone entering Charlie's community that liquor is restricted in the area and that one must have a permit to carry alcohol. The visual image sets the tone for the film by showing a material example of white settler–imposed regulation of an indigenous homeland community. The imagery also foreshadows clashes that will result from this tension between colonizers and the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area.

Medical Airlift (Visual and Auditory Imagery)

In the middle of the film, Charlie watches an aging man in poor health being loaded into a medical helicopter. The camera stays on Charlie's mournful face as the audience hears the diegetic sound of the helicopter engine bringing the man to the hospital in Darwin. Charlie raises his hand in a small wave while tears collect in his eyes. In this striking image, de Heer emphasizes the helplessness and isolation Charlie feels in the scene by contrasting his silent grief with the overawing roar of the helicopter taking off.

Extinguished Fire (Visual and Auditory Imagery)

While eating a barramundi fish he speared, Charlie dances and sings to himself happily. This jubilant scene is a striking contrast with the following scene in which sudden rainfall extinguishes Charlie's fire. The visual and auditory juxtaposition shows how unpredictably adverse the conditions are for Charlie as he attempts to live in the traditional way out in the bush.

Crackling Fire (Auditory Imagery)

Throughout the film, Charlie spends much of his time sitting cross-legged before a smoldering fire. Often the crackling fire is the only ambient sound to be heard after Charlie goes to sleep and the shot goes dark. This auditory imagery emphasizes the mix of serenity and loneliness that characterizes Charlie's daily life.