In the new movie "Tracks," Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 walked some 1,700 miles of the Australian desert over nine months accompanied by her dog and a few camels. She is joined at times along the way by National Geographic photographer Ric Smolan, played in the film by "Girls" star and recent Gap model Adam Driver.
Having premiered Thursday at the Venice Film Festival ahead of upcoming appearances in Telluride and Toronto, "Tracks" is directed by John Curran from a screenplay adapted from Davidson's book by Marion Nelson.
Davidson's book of her adventure has become an iconic tale of modern Australia, taught widely in schools there. The rights to the book changed hands a number of times over the years as the story seemed a rather obvious prospect to adapt into a movie.
"It's on the one hand a very physical and epic journey, with a woman tackling the physical conditions of the Australian desert," said producer Emile Sherman in a phone call late last week from Sydney.
"On the other hand, it's a very interior story, a delicate story of a woman who's trying to escape something in herself and is trying to get away from everything," added Sherman. "It's a balance of that epic external journey and quite a delicate internal one."
The first film to play as part of the main competition this year at Venice, "Tracks" was been met by mostly positive reviews. Writing for Variety, Justin Chang called the film a "gorgeously rendered adventure saga" that had been "brought to the screen with impeccable craftsmanship and considerable sensitivity."
Sherman and producing partner Iain Canning won a best picture Oscar for "The King's Speech." The pair also previously hit the fall fest circuit with Steve McQueen's bracing sex addiction drama "Shame" looking for distribution, and they are doing the same with "Tracks." Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney noted of their new picture that "this long-awaited adaptation seems a natural for significant exposure through a top-tier specialty label."
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