MCC231-Australian Cinema Matthew Casey 
Dingo (1991)
Director: Rolf de Heer
Writer/ producer: Marc Rosenberg
Producer:  Giorgio Draskovi
Director of Photography: Denis Lenoir, AFC
Film Editor:  Suresh Ayyar
Production Designer: Judith Russell
Costume Designer: Clarissa Patterson
Music Composer: Michel Legrand
Music Composer: Miles Davis  
The Musician: Charles B. Findley

Colin Friels: John ‘Dingo’ Anderson
 Miles Davis: Billy Cross
 Helen Buday:  Jane Anderson
 Joe Petruzzi: Peter
Brigitte Catillon: Beatrice Boulain
 Bernard Fresson: Jacques Boulain
 Bernadette Lafont: Angie Cross
 Steven Shaw: Archie
 Helen Doig: Ruth
 Daniel Scott: Young John
 Chelsea Gibson: Young Jane
 Ben Mortley: Young Peter
 Elissa McAuliffe: Emma Anderson
 Fiona Bradshaw: Jo Anderson 

Other Information

Genre: musical, road movie and elements of many more besides

Tagline: Truth is magic...It makes dreams come true.
Runtime: 109 min


Also Known As: Dingo - Dog of the Desert  

Release Dates: 
Australia: 30 January 1992
 USA: 31 January 1992
Sweden: 14 August 1992
Switzerland: 8 August 2003

Country: Australia / France  

Language: English

Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1

Format: 35mm

 Stock: Kodak Colour

Sound Mix: Dolby SR

Certification: Iceland:L / Australia:PG / Sweden:Btl / USA:PG

Filming Locations:
Meekatharra, Western Australia, Australia 
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sandstone, Western Australia, Australia  
Paris, France

Company:Gevest Australia Productions

Box office success
AUD 132,500 (Australia) (21 April 2004)

The film won three AFI awards and was nominated for a further five

‘Dingo’ won
Best Achievement in Sound

Best Original Music Score

And was nominated for 

 Best Achievement in Cinematography
Best Achievement in Editing
Best Actor in a Lead Role
Best Director
Best Film

‘Dingo’ also won an Awgie award at the Australian Writers’ Guild for Best Original Film  

Plot Synopsis

‘Dingo tells the story of a trumpeter trying to life out his dream as a big time Jazz musician after

an unlikely encounter at an early age with a Jazz legend. This concert that is played on the

runway creates a lasting impression in young John’s life which lasts into his adult years. John

‘Dingo’ Anderson is trying to raise a family and ‘put bread on the table’ by hunting dingoes for a

living, but his true calling is playing the trumpet. After writing his original music and sending it

over to the office of his idol Billy Cross (Miles Davis) John decides to risk his marriage and his

life’s savings to realize his dream and play music in Paris. The film is essentially light hearted

but in this simplicity it has an awful lot to say       


Critical review of Dingo

Rolf De Heer’s “Dingo” was a pleasant surprise and a delight to watch. Initially wary because of

 my indifference to jazz music any worries were instantly quelled as the opening scene ( circling

Colin Friel’s playing the trumpet surrounded by bushland) instantly took my into De Heers

typical naturalistic style which continued beautifully throughout the film. The actors were cast

superbly, with the young ‘versions’ of the main actors mirroring the characteristics of their older

counterparts surprisingly well. This added to the brilliant sense of continuity throughout the film.

At times I felt that the shots lingered for just a little too long and although this suited the style of

the film cinematographer Denis Lenoir’s ‘signature’ shot (the slow circling of the actors) grew

wearisome and I was tempted to fast forward to the end of the song. Having said this, the Paris

club scene in which Colin and Davies play together is the most powerful scene in the film and

would not have been so if De Heer had used more cutting in the scene because the viewer would

have felt more detached from the scene. One long take enabled me to feel as if I was a patron in

the club enjoying the music live. Cutting later in the scene was then able to show patrons’

responses to the music. The soundtrack was lovely and the colin Friels mimed well to

prerecorded music rather than it being done afterwards. I enjoyed watching Colin Friel  as John

‘Dingo’ Anderson’s attempting to live out his dream and Miles Davis did a brilliant job as Billy

Cross but the supporting cast was somewhat lacking I felt. The two subplots of John’s wife

falling for their childhood friend Peter (joe Petruzzi) and the three legged dingo were also a little

lacking in depth and I found them to be slightly confusing at times. The smart dingo that set off

all of the traps seemed to be built up only to disappear and never return again. I felt like we

needed to be given more of that although I did like the scene where John raised his rifle to shoot

him but couldn’t pull through with it in the end. The other issue I had were the sound effects,

time and time again I heard exactly the same car door slamming sound and door opening and

closing. It was a shame that with such a brilliant score that the sound effects were so lacking in

originality and diversity however in the scheme of things it wasn’t a major issue. The final

sequence was a nice way to end the film, I was dreading the thought of him actually taking his

family to Paris it would have taken the film overboard and ruined it.  All in all I would rate the

film a 7.5 to 8 out of ten. It had a nice well rounded storyline which started and ended well and

the soundtrack was brilliant the only issues were sound effects and some weaker supporting




Finding reviews for this film was a challenge because the film is now quite old and was never

hugely popular to begin with, I can across a heap of dead links trying to find reviews worth


 A review of the music in the film can be found Here I don’t agree with what the critic had to say

but it is a viewpoint none the less.

This is better review the link is here




Interviews with filmmakers

An interview with Rolf De Heer can be found Here, it provides an insight into his philosophy of

low budget film making including ‘Dingo’

Another interview with De Heer, this time on film making with the Jazz legend Miles Davis can

be found Here 


Reference list