Date Showing Showing On 27, 29, 30 August
Time Showing Monday 6pm, Wednesday 4pm and Thursday 6pm


PG 1hrs 36mins
biography documentary | 2017, Australia | English

GURRUMUL is a portrait of an artist on the brink of global reverence, and the struggles he and those closest to him faced in balancing that which mattered most to him and keeping the show on the road.


Strong coarse language

Paul Damien Williams
Original Review
Stephanie Bunbury, Sydney Morning Herald
Extracted By
Gill Ireland
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Michael Hohnen

Watch The Trailer

Gurrumul - Official Trailer

Storyline (warning: spoilers)

Gurrumul was blind from birth but, according to his producer, bandmate and close friend, Michael Hohnen, he could play any instrument he picked up. He played with Yothu Yindi, then with his own group Saltwater Band before releasing a self-titled solo album in 2008. It went triple platinum in Australia and charted all over the world. He won ARIAs; he played for the Queen and for Barack Obama, continuing all the while to live on Elcho Island, hunting and fishing.

The film makes it clear this wasn't always an easy mix.

Paul Williams had made dozens of short films in Top End communities and knew the peculiarities of working with traditional communities.

"Filmmaking is an endeavour that really requires clockwork timing," he said, "things happen in a certain way. You need to book a crew and make up a schedule, but these rules didn't necessarily work in the Yolngu world. But we were very conscious we were operating outside our world – and that we had to go with it or go mad."

Gurrumul himself said he wouldn't be interviewed. As Hohnen says during a concert shown in the film, he never talked much: He also didn't want to mention in the film the fact that he was ill. He died of kidney failure just three days after signing off on the finished film.

That was last July; he was 46. Tradition dictates that his name now should not be spoken for years, but clan leaders have agreed to a special dispensation of the rule so the film can be shown.

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