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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Culture Index: Fall's It Girl


Illustration by André Carrilho

Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks seemed tailor-made for a David Lean–style epic: In 1977, Davidson trekked across 1,700 miles of Australian outback, alone but for the company of four camels and a dog. “It’s a difficult book to adapt,” says director John Curran, who first encountered the story when backpacking through Australia in the early ’80s. “It’s first-person, this woman alone in the desert, with a lot of meditative moments.” He nonetheless tackled the memoir, casting Aussie native Mia Wasikowska as the lead. (The film opens September 19.) “As a character, she’s very quiet and reserved but also very sharp—she’s got that writer’s eye,” Curran says. Wasikowska is not the only star: Curran was particularly pleased with his four camel actors. “After a while, it was like the camels knew they were on camera,” he says with a laugh. “When we said, ‘Action,’ they were real hams.”

 

And Six Other Cultural To-Dos

9/4–14: The Toronto International Film Festival, the unofficial start of awards season, kicks off.

9/7: The fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire premieres today. Will Nucky survive?

9/10–13: Pianist Leif Oves Andsnes plays Beethoven’s first concerto at the San Francisco Symphony.

9/21: Yan Pei-Ming and Bertrand Lavier present new artworks at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France.

9/24: Malian songstress Rokia Traoré performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

9/27–12/14: London’s Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major retrospective of German painter Anselm Kiefer.

—By Julian Sancton

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