Charlie's Country (2013) Script

(insects chirring)

(shuffling papers)



(dogs barking)

(continued humming)


(birds chirping)

How are you, Pops?

Yeah good!

(baby crying)

Good morning.

You come from far away and bring us alcohol, ganja, tobacco... all bad!

G'day Luke.

G'day Charlie.

You white bastard.

You black bastard.


Have a good day.

(speaking foreign language)

(telephone rings)

(indiscernible chatter)

Is that it?

I'm off then.


Lot of rubbish in your truck.

Lot of rubbish in your head.



Don't just walk past.

-I don't need a big note. -No worries.

Forty-three forty cents.

But I've only got $20!

-Here you go. -Need some more?

I'm okay now.

(car horn honks)

Hey, hey, hey, not so many!

-Another one. -No.

Leave some for me!

Hey old man, bring me back a cigarette!

(birds chirping)


(crickets chirring)

This house...

...this is the sort of house I want.

If it's like this house, then it'll be okay.

(children playing)

(Charlie sighs)

(dog barking)

(door squeals shut)

Sit down, Charlie.

(chair squeaks)

What do you want, Charlie?

I want a house.

-You've got a house. -Nah.

Too many people.

My family.

No room, see?

I want a house for me.

Government's already given you one good house.

You wanna walk away from that, that's your problem.

But Errol, you got a wife, ey?


You get a house.

While I'm here I've got a house.

Goes with the job.

You've got a job and you got a house... on my land.

Where's my house?

Where's my job?

Anything else you want, Charlie?


(scanner beeps)

(dog barking)

(car approaching)

(brakes screech)

You coming hunting?

There's a buffalo around, up the road a bit.

You not working?

Truck broke down, waiting on a new one from Darwin.

Got the starter?

In the back.

Make way.

Let's get going.

Away you go.

(engine turns over)



(glass bottles rattle)

Where are we going?

Where I saw some tracks.

You ready?

Good to go.

(truck rattles)

Look, there, there, there!

(gun shot)

-Got him! -Beautiful shooting!

-Right in the heart! -Straight through the heart!

One shot and he went down.


-Watch out! -He's come alive!


Run! Run!

Turn! Turn! Shoot! Shoot!

(gun shots)


Got him this time!

Shot him properly!

This time we both got him!

(truck rattles)

My legs are aching...

...and I'm hungry for meat.

We should have shot...

...a small one.

This one is wrecking my car.

No this is a good one, plenty of meat.

There's a car parked there!


In the trees.

It's a policeman!

A policeman's parked there!

Sit down, sit down!

Don't panic... sit down slowly.

Sit down very slowly.

I better sit down slowly too.

(brakes screech)

We're searching every car for grog, Charlie.

No alcohol comin' in here anymore.

What's in there?

Petrol, keep the car going.

You got cigarette?

Get out of the car.

(police dispatch)

Who owns this?

Me, that's mine.

And the other one was mine.

Did y'all purchase permits for 'em?

You got a license?


We're not gonna drive them, we're just gonna shoot 'em.



(flies buzzing)

They've got my car...

...bugger shit.

And your rifle and my gun.

And all that tender meat.

That'll soon stink up the whole police station!


And then the maggots will be crawling through it in no time!

(echoed laughing)


(birds chirping)


Pst! Pst!


It's Gaz.

Charlie! It's Gaz.

(banging on metal)

(Charlie groans)

Are you awake?

It's Gaz.

What do you want?

We need to camp somewhere out of the way.

I know you.

You got anywhere?

You got any ganja?

Yeah, yeah, later.

We need the camp first.

Sure, why not?

(car engine starts)

Now, Charlie... this is primo shit.

The best of the best.

Gonna make you really happy.


Stop here, stop, stop.

(engine revs)

What now?

See that tree there?


That's where you're gonna go.

And this road'll take you right up there.

(engine idling)

Watch out for crocodile, too.

Are you serious?


Oh, great.

-And? -Yeah, I'm comin'.

Wait now... how much for them?

Fifty, like always.

-Fifty? -Yeah.

(door slams)

(engine rumbles)

(distant shouting)

(crickets chirring)

Anything to eat?

I can't eat this.

I have no money left or food.

I'm hungry.

There's lots of food in the bush.

It's like a supermarket out there.

(cell phone rings)


(responds in foreign language)


Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Why don't you answer your phone?

Got no recharge left.


We need you to teach the kids... to dance...


The kids go to school now.

They don't care anymore.

We need to teach them the traditional ways.

Get Bobby to teach them.

He can do it.

He knows how to lead them.

(paper crackling)


Oh shit.


Hey Charlie.

Charlie, how are you?

Um, some white guys in town, we think they might be trouble.

Selling the ol' ganja.

Heard you might be able to track 'em for us.

Come on.

I'll owe you one.

(truck grumbling)

Now, I don't really like this postin' too much.

I mean, the people are nice like good ol' Charlie here, but it's just... it's isolated, it's remote.

Don't know.

I'm one for the big city, you know PC?


-Yup. -I like the high life.

Stop, stop, stop.

Stop, stop.

(engine rumbles in idle)

Get out.

(car doors shut)

That drive there means stop.

And here, came back here, and then he went this way.

Yesterday 10 o'clock.

Damn, you black fellas are smart when you wanna be.



(engine rumbling)

Hey, hey, come here.

Shh, down, down, down, down, down, down.

Come, come.

Shh, shh, shh, shh.

Right there.

It''s two cars with a tent.

They're camping.

-Okay? -Okay.

You'll be all right now?

I'm going back to town.


It's 15 kilometers away.

Shortcut through the bush.

See you later.

(leaves rustling)


(crickets chirring)

Anything to smoke?


The cops nearly caught me, but those white fellas got caught good and proper, and I'd got this but I hadn't paid him yet either.


Serves him right, always ripping us off.

Is this worth fifty dollars?

-No fucking way! -It's big money.

And I didn't pay him!


Can you look after him for a bit?

Stuff to do...

See you later.

See you.

He won't go anywhere.

(birds squawking)

You know I'm sick don't you?

My kidneys are no good.

Soon they'll stop working.


I know you're sick.

I know that.


It's all that...

...white man junk food we eat.

They'll take me to Darwin.

Then you'll die in the wrong place...

...a long way from your country.

A long way.

There'll be no one with you... one to look after you.

(door slams)

Right, we'll put you down as a recreational shooter then.



Hunting is not recreational.

It's for food.

You still need a license.

How much it gonna cost me?

Sixty dollars.

Sixty dollars to buy my gun back?

Charlie, you're not getting your gun back.

It's been confiscated.

You're stealing it.

Look, you can't have a purchase permit for it.

All right, you illegally modified it to be a concealable weapon.

You're lucky Brum didn't charge you!

But I didn't know that.

I know, it's just not an excuse.

(crickets chirring)

I'm not a recreational shooter...

I am...

...a hunter.

I danced for the Queen of England when they opened that building...

I bet you never did that.

(coughs, wheezes)

And again.



Good thing you gave up smoking when you did, Charlie.

Your lungs are packin' it in.

Next time you're in Darwin, we should get your chest X-rayed.

But you gotta look after yourself.

No more ganja, okay?

And you need to eat better.

Eat what?

White fella junk food?

Yeah, it's a problem.

Fuckin' yeah, it's a problem.

See this? Doesn't fit.

I can't eat with 'em, and I can't eat without them.

I'm starving.

Well, look, I'm not the dentist.

You gotta wait for the dentist to come.

I'll be dead by then.


What are you doing?

Making a spear.


For hunting.

Catch something to eat.

Why don't you use a gun?

Why don't you go away?

Go and play somewhere.

One, two, three.


(muffled chatter)

(plane engine hums)

(truck rattling)

-Hey Charlie. -Hey Luke!

What do you got there?

I made a spear.

Hunting spear.


It's incredible but I'm gonna have to take it.


Well, you can't just go walking through town with a dangerous weapon.

It's not a dangerous weapon.

It's a hunting spear, not a battle spear.

You know what happened in that other community.

One bloke dead and the other one in the hospital.

But you took my gun!

Come on.

It's a dangerous weapon, I'm gonna have to destroy it.

Well, fuck you then.

Treacherous bastard!

Fuck those thieving...

...white bastards.


(dogs barking)

Why did you come here?

From far away... stealing people's stuff!

Is this your land?

Fucking bastard.

(overlapping chatter)

I need to get money too.

I want my money!

All my money, the whole lot!

Where is it? I need it now!

(muffled talking)


(car approaching)

What's going on?

That's a police car!

I'm borrowing it.

They took your rifle...

...and your car.

They took my spear...

...and my gun.

I work for them catching criminals and they don't pay me.

They stole our land and put a police station on it.

They're lucky.

I'm only borrowing their car!

We'll bring it back later.

Where are we going?

Live the old way.

What's that for?

No electricity there.

Carrying water.

Where we used to sleep as kids...

...we'll hunt and fish there.

(excited talking)

...going bush, going bush...

...going to my Mother Country...

...yes, your Mother Country...


(car revs)

Second, second.

This is not your Mother Country.

No. This is where we run out of fuel!

The fuel's run out!


We've barely left...

...and we've already run out of fuel!

-I'm off then. See you. -Yeah.

You'll be back as soon as you're hungry!

Plenty of food out there!


Yeah eh?

(bird cooing)

(insect buzzing)

Good tucker, this.

Our food...

He took my spear, that policeman.

"This spear got no license."

Why take my spear? Are you going to throw it?

Good, good, good.


(crickets chirring)

(birds chirping)


(scraping continues)

Not bad.


Long time since I painted anything...

(water splashing)

(speaking foreign language)

I've been waiting for you, Fish.


Oh! You're beautifully cooked.


That's what I want.

Yes! My Barramundi.

Well done.

Oh! You're cooked just right, Fish...

Ah Fish...

Hey Fish...

Good Fish...

Mm, mm.


Very good, Fish.

Good fish, yeah.


I've been away fishing, now I'm home.

I'm eating well.

It's my own supermarket.

Here, I'll wrap some fish for you.

Just a minute...I'm busy.

I'm free now!


Lot of fish...

I have my own supermarket!



And this is my country!

I can dance with it!

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap!

(rolling thunder)

(crackling fire)


(pouring rain)



The ancestors used to eat these.


They'd sit by the fire here.

They've all passed on.



No one left.

(crickets chirring)

(muffled conversation)

(streaming water)

(ominous sounds)

(Charlie breathing)

(ominous sounds continue)




(leaves rustling)

(soft rain pelting)


(pouring rain)



(wheezing cough)

(insects chirping)


Me... at the Opera House...

...and to its cultural and community life.

The Queen was there...

...declaring the Sydney Opera House...

...and opened it...

...the Opera House.

Just a boy...

...and the Queen.

(rain pelting)

(Charlie snoring)


Mother Country is a long way...

...too far...

...I can't see it... Mother...


(footsteps approaching)

Fuck, you're hard to find.

Charlie, Charlie.

I thought I told you to look after yourself.

We need to get him to hospital.


See if the medevac's available.

Charter a plane if you have to.

It's off to Darwin with you now, my friend.

(plane engine hums)

(ducks quacking)

(unintelligible chatter)

(oxygen tank pulses)

(sliding curtain closing)

Well... you're looking much better, huh?

Do you mind if I call you Charlie?

I have difficulty pronouncing foreign names.

Now I'm a foreigner?


You a doctor?

Yes, yes.

Well, I, uh...

I believe you were found in the bush, Charlie.

I born in the bush.

I didn't find me in the bush.

I see you still have your sense of humor, ey?

I want a doctor.

(announcement over PA)

(breathing softly)


Fuck this.


...we have to go home.


(water drops echoing)


What's going on here, Charlie?

-I'm leaving. -Are you? Okay.

Um, is there something I can help you with?

No, you can't keep me here.

Yeah, but you're not well, okay?

You haven't been discharged.

Come back with me, come on, come on!

(speaking foreign language)

(door shuts)

(car honks)

(ATM beeps)



(machine dispensing)

You gonna buy some grog?

Are you banned?

I'm okay...

I'm allowed to buy it.

This one.

Something else as well.

Give him your I.D.

Got some I.D., mate?

Yeah, yeah.

That's me.

Yeah, all good.


You really are not banned.

Yeah I'm good.

Where are we going?

Going home to have a drink.

Wait! It's the cops.

We've got better things to do than clean up after you lot!

Quick. Hide the grog!

-I'm allowed. -But I'm banned.

I'm banned!

If you give me grog then you'll be banned and go to jail.

You know you're not supposed to camp here!

Piss off!

Go back to your community!

(inaudible shouting)

Look at the mess!

My home, what a mess.

What a mess!

They should just shoot us... in the old days.

Hey you lot!

All's clear, you can come out now!

We've got one here not banned!

Come out from that grass, we got grog!

(chatter in foreign language)

(birds chirping)

(birds chirping)

You bring shame to us.

She's wrong skin for you.

You've broken the law.

And that's poison you're drinking, it rots your brain.

I don't know what's wrong with him...

...shaming us.

Who knows?

Why is he like that now?

He didn't go the straight way, he went any which way.

He just helped himself to a woman.

(ATM beeping)

Nothing left.

I'll get some, there's some in my account.

(machine dispensing)


You can't be drinking all this by yourself.

You buying this for her?


Mate, you wanna be careful.

Coppers are trying to stop this sort of thing.

They came here and asked me to report any suspicious grog purchases.

I've done nothing wrong.

Yeah, well, you try telling the coppers that.

They're talking about changing the law again.

Automatic 18 month jail sentence for anybody supplying a banned person with grog.

Oh, sorry.

(chatter in foreign language)


A police car!

Watch out, policemen coming!


Where's your home?

Where's your home, eh?

This is our land, you bastards!

(glass cracks)

You treacherous fuck!


Come on, I trusted you!

You fuckin' turn on me, you fuckin' useless black bastard!

Fuck you!

-Fuck you! -Fuck you!

-Fuck you! -Fuck you!

Fuck you!

Watch your head.

(shouting in foreign language)

Should've hunted you down that day, Charlie.

You know that, but I did nothin'.

That is a big mistake by me.

I've learned my lesson, you know?

You don't go soft on a black fella, they take advantage of you.

Shut up!

Come on.

Get in.

Sorry for hittin' you, Charlie.

You know, you can't just sit on the grass all day and call it "the old ways."

These times have changed.

No, they haven't.

You're still trying to change our culture to your bastard culture!

Fuck you!

(clears throat)

In--in this particular situation... moreover the defendant in no way denies the attack, and has shown nothing in the way of remorse.

I find against him on all charges.

Does the defendant have anything to say before sentencing?

(speaking foreign language)

This mean my country is my home.

(speaking foreign language)

That means...

I was living in my home nice and peacefully, then the police came to throw me out.

(speaking foreign language)

That mean... nothing more to say.

(truck rattling)

(hum of hair clipper)

(footsteps approaching)

Attention! Attention!

All areas will report to (unintelligible).

(cart rattles)

(machines hum)

(whir of machine)

(cart rattles)

(overlapping chatter)

Hard to talk to you when you don't look like you.

I got that license for my rifle.

They're teaching me here, then I'll go back, and I'll work in my own country.

I'm going.

(heavy footsteps)

(cart rattles)

(hum of the machines)

(machine whirs to life)

Ah, shit.

(cart rattles)

(plates tap on table)

(papers shuffling)

All right, so when you're considered for parole, Charlie.

-When? -When?

I don't know, not for a few months yet, but when you are... where do you think you might go?

I don't know.


What about going back to your community?

You can live your own way.


White fellas locked me up for being aboriginal.

I wanted to live in the white fella's way now.

(heavy footsteps)

(cart rattles)

(hum of machines)



(cart rattles)

(plates tap on table)

You're gonna report to me weekly.

You're gonna show up on time.

And another condition is that you'll be banned from buying alcohol.

I'm giving up drinking anyway.

That's good.

And you won't be allowed to associate with known drinkers.

Everyone in this country are known drinkers.

Yeah, this means known to the police.

Police are known drinkers.

Tell them not to associate with me.

Okay, all right.

I'm gonna arrange for you to stay at a dry house for the first month.

It's not the easiest of places, Charlie.

But given what you want, that's the best I can do.

(responds in foreign language)

I want to go home now...

...back to my own country...

...where my place is...

(ducks quacking)

(dog barking)

(children laughing)

(birds chirping)

(distant laughter)

Same old junk, same old prices.

Where's all the decent food?

The food in prison is better than this.

Ah, doesn't matter.


(footsteps approaching)

What are you doing in the bush?

You know I like it here.


I had to get this ranger to find you.

He's always finding me in the bush.


How come you don't answer your phone?

Old number.

What's the new number then?

Only got old number.

You going to come and teach the kids to dance?

No...not me...

...get Bobby to teach those kids.

He knows how to do it.

Bobby's crook.

His lungs are bad.

Yeah, Bobby smokes too much.

They've taken him to hospital in Darwin.

Okay, I'll teach them.

I'd like to do it.



I went from this land, by myself.

Not just me, other boys too.

We went far, all the way to...


We danced there, all the boys.


Queen Elizabeth...Queen...

...from England, London.

I've danced there!

For the opening of the Opera House and the Queen was there too.

Me, and all them boys.

Number one didgeridoo player, and number one clapstick player.

Very big.

Many, many people were there... at the Opera House.

Do you want to give it a try?

(children respond in foreign language)

I'll show you, eh?

(speaking foreign language)


(rhythmic didgeridoo plays)


(children sing)

(singing continues)

(rhythmic clapping)

(fire crackles)

(dog barks)

(birds chirping)