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1 New Zealand programs comprise around 20 per cent of the content on New Zealand free-to-air television. Australian programs comprise at least 55 per cent of content on Australian free-to-air television. See Roger Horrocks, 'New Zealand cinema cultures, policies, films'. In Deb Verhoeven (ed.), Twin Peeks Australian & New Zealand Feature Films, Melbourne Damned Publishing, 1999, pp. 129-37. Horrocks outlines cultural costs and benefits of a deregulated film and television industry in New...

Coming from the City in The Castle Vacant Possession Strange Planet and Radiance

To be asked 'where are you from ' in Australia today is to imply not only that there is geographic mobility within the nation's borders but that your family's origins, within living memory, are elsewhere. Cultural commentators have long pointed to the problem of being at home in Australia as a recurring theme, usually articulated in terms of Australia's lack of self-confidence, maturity and independence. The difficulty of asserting an independent nationhood, particularly in relation to Britain...

Cutting Through the Canefields in Radiance

In his reading of the unique poetics of land in six preambles to the Constitution devised since 1998 by Australian writers for the Australian Republican Movement, Mark McKenna was struck by 'the depth' of each writer's 'attachment to Australia as country'.31 McKenna suggests that 'the centrality of the land' to these preambles expresses a wish 'to end the sense of alienation and exile that is embedded in non-Aboriginal Australians' colonial experience'.32 This growing sense of settlers...

From Hollywood to Jigalong

< It is a long time since Australian director Noyce made a film outside America, where he is best known for directing Hollywood action blockbusters such as < Clear and Present Danger (1994) and Patriot Games (1992). So what exactly attracted Noyce at this point in his career to make the low-budget film Rabbit-Proof Fence Noyce claims he was initially attracted to what he calls the film's 'universal elements' as a story of escape.3 This revelation takes on deeper significance when we learn...

Giving Back the Land in Vacant Possession

As Andreas Huyssen has pointed out, a resurgent politics of memory since the 1960s has been closely connected with the issue of forgetting in post-communist Eastern Europe and the Soviet, in post-apartheid South Africa, in post-dictatorship Latin America and in the debate about the Stolen Generations in Australia, 'raising fundamental questions about human rights violations, justice, and collective responsibility'.24 The Castle references Mabo (along with the Tasmanian Dams case) while...

Guilt Grief and Reparation in Japanese Story

Building on its international debut at Cannes, Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, < 2003) uses three forms of backtracking to build an audience locally and to sell in overseas territories.20 The first backtrack reprises the desert landscape as a timeless template of national character. The story is set in the spectacular Pilbara region of Western Australia, its vast natural scale matched by the gargantuan mechanical scale of the iron ore mining industry, courtesy of BHP-Billiton. The second...

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Finessing with the Anglo-Celtic Social Imaginary in Australian Rules < Australian Rules was adapted from the coming-of-age novel Deadly, Unna by Phillip Gywnne. The decision to change the title for the release of the < film is a risky one, given that most Australian films tend to play down their national origins in order to compete for the attention of the multiplex cinema audience. The change in title also risks an instant turn-off for non-football fans, who recognise the title as a...

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S 1 On the 'violent innocence' of emergent nation-states, see Marilyn Lake, 'History and z the nation'. In Robert Manne (ed.), Whitewash On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication u of Aboriginal History', Melbourne Black Inc. Agenda, 2003, pp. 164-6. 3 On the restoration ofthe Koori name Gariwerd to a mountain range named by settlers as The Grampians, in Victoria in 1989, see Tony Birch, 'Nothing has changed a the making and unmaking of Koori culture'. In Michele Grossman (ed.), Blacklines...

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Recovering the Keating Years in Walking on Water If Clarence and Gary manage to get away from Prospect Bay it is conceivable that they might turn up somewhere in close proximity to the floating populace of Sydney's cosmopolitan beachside suburbs. This dislocated milieu is given a transnational or borderless identity through a local experience of living with the AIDS crisis in Walking on Water, a film that might be understood as a long recovery party after a big night out at Moulin Rouge. If...

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Home and Abroad in Moulin Rouge, The Dish and Lantana When Russell Crowe became the inaugural winner of the Global Achievement Award at the nationally televised 2001 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, he ended his acceptance speech with the provocative words, 'God bless America'. It was not hard to imagine the assembled film and television industry catching its collective breath. Only two years before, in 1999, the AFI Awards had provided a public platform for the industry's attack on the...

Laying Down the Law in Heartland

Social melodrama, in its mundane television mode, is characterised by polarised moral conflicts accompanied by heightened emotional affect. In melodrama the family is often the site of intense moral and emotional conflict around issues of difference, whether of class, gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality or religion. These differences are usually polarised into a struggle between good and evil, and the resolution usually comes at some cost or involves some sort of sacrifice. Heartland begins...

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3 Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka, The Screening Of Australia, vol. 1, Sydney 01 Currency Press, 1987. z 4 Belinda Smaill, 'SBS Documentary and Unfinished Business Reconciling the Nation', a Metro, 126, 2001, pp. 34-40. t 5 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Bringing Them Home. Report E of the National Inquiry into the separation from their families and communities of r Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, Canberra, 1997. 6 The SBSi package of feature films included...

Mediating Memory in Mabo Life of an Island

Since the High Court's judgment in Mabo and others v. The State of Queensland (No 2) (1992),1 'Mabo' has become a household word in Australia. In his commentary on the cultural implications of the decision, Jeremy Beckett, anthropologist and witness for the plaintiffs, claims that media and politicians have added a new word to the Australian vernacular.2 'Mabo', he says, 'has come to stand for the whole issue of Aboriginal land rights, as in Mabo law, Mabo deal, Mabo show and of course, Mabo...

Message from Moree

< If Cunnamulla lacks sufficient context for some viewers, Messagefrom Moree, broadcast nationally on ABC-TV on 28 May 2003, might be one of the films < Grech would like to show to international audiences to counter O'Rourke's recidivist image of the ugly Australian. Messagefrom Moree is easily understood as an inspiring story of social change in a New South Wales cotton town with an uglier reputation for entrenched racism than the badlands of Queensland. The message coming out of Moree...

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Sunday Telegraph pays careful attention to questions of historical accuracy, e it sidesteps Akerman's attack on the melodramatic style of the film and the question of cultural contamination. Elsewhere, however, Noyce is more D than happy to defend the film's Hollywood elements, especially its appeal to the senses. At a Q and A session following a screening in Newcastle, D Noyce told the audience that from the very start his aim had been to make 'a mainstream film'.20 He did not, he said, want...

Seeing the History in the Name

This second view of 'Mabo', in which we face the gap between the name and face rather than foreclose it as a tragedy and thereby veil the historical specificity of the event, opens up a different view of the name and naming. From this perspective, it is possible to 'read' the life story presented in the film through the history of the name. We learn that Mabo was born on Murray Island in 1936, the son of Robert and Paipe Sambo. When his mother died shortly after his birth, he was adopted by...

Strands of Space in Strange Planet

In contrast to The Castle's integration of the Mabo decision into its ethos of suburban prosperity, the inner-city film locates its upwardly mobile characters in a corporate landscape that no one seems to have a claim on. This cityscape, to which no one belongs in a meaningful way and which is therefore open to all comers, is a useful setting for films contemplating two aspects of 21st-century experience. The first is the uneventful experience of time as boredom, of everyday life as duration...

Sustaining Grief in Japanese Story and Dreaming in Motion

Throughout this book we have proposed that the post-Mabo era in Australian cinema can be read through the metaphor of backtracking. This intermittent activity of reviewing, mulling over and renewing icons, landscapes, characters and stories defines contemporary Australian national cinema. In our conclusion we want to propose that, in the post-Mabo context, this brooding passion for raking over the national repertoire of icons serves as a vernacular mode ofcollective mourning, a process...

The Mask of Tragedy

< On one level, Mabo - Life of an Island Man is a straightforward biography it organises the events of Eddie Mabo's life into more or less chronologi- < cal order and in such a way that the narrative unifies these events into a single purpose in life, namely Mabo's struggle for land rights. By using the trope of the face as the means of mediating social recognition of Mabo, the film is also a portrait machine. It combines archival material and interviews with Mabo's family members, friends...

The Trauma of Nonrecognition

So far we have argued that Mabo - Life of an Island Man makes Eddie Mabo recognisable as a tragic hero. But this is only one form of recognition enabled by this complex film. The gap between name and face, judgment and historical subject, which the film seeks to conceal, also provides an opening for a second and arguably more radical perspective on the defacement of Mabo's grave. Unlike tragedy, which, as we argued, can mask historical specificity, g Walter Benjamin's philosophy of the image...

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lt After the 10BA period of funding films through a tax write-off system, 2 the new policy era of the Film Finance Corporation was marked by the u popular success of three films, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the lt Desert Stephan Elliott, 1994 , Strictly Ballroom Baz Luhrmann, 1992 and lt Muriel's Wedding Paul J. Hogan, 1994 . These films instantly redefined Aus- tralian cinema as quirky suburban comedy. Breaking with the satiric anti- lt suburbanism of Australian literary and...

Shock of Secular Modernity in Oscar and Lucinda

Thinking about history in terms of modernity, rather than postmodernism and the end of history, entails questions of memory and the peculiarly modern sensory experience of montage and shock. This aesthetic experience of shock is associated with the technologies which shape industrial and urban experience, from the factory assembly line to the phantasmagoria of the city with its tenement living, congested traffic, advertising billboards, theme parks and crowded cinemas. The modernity paradigm,...

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Smith, Australian Cultural History, Cambridge University Press, 1988. A Bicentennial anthology whose idea of culture as 'writing, painting, ballet, music or scholarship' p. 3 ties in with ideas of Australia as insular, second-rate and far removed from the centres of European, British and American excellence. 2 Robert Manne, 'The Howard years a political interpretation'. In Robert Manne ed. , The Howard Years, Melbourne Black Inc. Agenda, 2004, p. 27. 3 Newspoll,...

Aftershock in Heavens Burning The Last Days of Chez Nous and Holy Smoke

Aftershock in contemporary films is the space of everyday life and its fantasised revision of the desert landscape to fit new historical circumstances. This repeated recognition of constellations between past and present states of trauma in landscape films is best understood in terms of what Patrice Petro describes as the 'aftershock' of late modernity rather than the shock of early modernity that Benjamin and other critical theorists grappled with in the 1920s and 1930s.18 In aftershock,...

He Ran to Escape History Thats His Story Head On

Like Looking for Alibrandi, Head On is a coming-of age film that allows us to consider the mobility and immediacy of contemporary teen experience. But unlike Alibrandis sweet, effervescent approach to these aspects of teen experience, Head On is a high-velocity assault on the senses. Techniques such as hand-held camera, tight, claustrophobic framing and rapid editing emphasise the visceral nature of the experiences the film depicts sex, drug-taking, music, dancing and violence. This kinetic...

Subjects of Shame

lt Each of these three coming-of-age stories expresses a desire to escape history. What we have also seen is that at the base of this desire is a self-understanding as a subject of shame 'the bastard', 'the wog', 'the queer', 'the half-caste', 'the black'. These subjects are historical in the sense that they are the unrecognised subjects and or the actively excluded subjects of Australian Federation and its cornerstone the White Australia policy. The Australian character cannot be foreign,...

Redeeming the Battler in Cunnamulla

Depending on where you come from, Cunnamulla can be seen as a depressing portrait of ten Australians locked into lives as dry and dusty as the cracked earth of the inland plains which, against the environmental odds, continue to support the district's pastoralists and their sheep runs. Or it can be seen as a 'symphonic' montage of moments in the short-lived cinematic lives of ten characters who are 'basically just living'.20 The film opens to the sound of sheep dipping and closes to the sound...

Felicity Collins And Therese Davis

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge cb2 2ru, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York www.cambridge.org Information on this title www.cambridge.org 9780521834803 Felicity Jane Collins and Therese Verdun Davis 2004 This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of...

The Lost Child Found

The lost child is a recurrent theme in the Australian cultural tradition. Narratives of lost children date as far back as the colonial period, where this figure characterised the hardship of life in the bush for new settlers. As Peter Pierce's comprehensive study of the subgenre shows, by the end of the 19th century the regular newspaper reports and stock illustrations of lost children that had well and truly captured the popular imagination had become the basis of literary works by many...

Bibliography

Acland, C., Youth, Murder, Spectacle The Cultural Politics of 'Youth in Crisis', Boulder CO Waterview Press, 1995. Akerman, P., 'Black man's burden', Daily Telegraph Mirror, 6 June 1995, p. 11. Akerman, P., 'Artistic licence spoils this saga', Sunday Telegraph, 3 March 2002, p. 89. Alessi, J., 'Head On A select bibliography', Metro, 127-128, 2001, pp. 46-9. Alomes, S., A Nation at Last The Changing Character of Australian Nationalism, 18801988, Sydney Angus amp Robertson, 1988. Altman, R.,...

Escaping History and Shame in Looking for Alibrandi Head On and Beneath Clouds

Australian film critics often claim that one new film or another marks the coming of age of the Australian film industry. In the 1980s, Gallipoli Peter Weir, 1981 achieved this by telling the story of the Allies' World War I invasion of Turkey from an Australian perspective. In the 1990s, the term was no longer applied to nationalist narratives but to 'outward-looking' genre films, such as the thriller Lantana Ray Lawrence, 2001 and the musical Moulin Rouge Baz Luhrmann, 2001 , as discussed in...

Afterwardness in Serenades Yolngu Boy and The Missing

If shock, in Benjamin's sense, is associated with singular and fleeting acts of recognition, with flashes of involuntary memory which 'slip by' provoking a chain of correspondences or associations, then aftershock which endures rather than flashes by might be thought of in terms of a mode of revised memory that Susannah Radstone calls 'afterwardness'.27 In her essay on history, memory and fantasy in Forrest Gump, Radstone makes a distinction between the historical recovery of repressed...

Before Its Too Late Beneath Clouds

Beneath Clouds is also underscored by a strong desire to escape history. But unlike other coming-of-age films discussed in this chapter, it is not set in urban Australia. Rather, the film's story takes place on the back roads of rural New South Wales, somewhere between Moree and Sydney. The director, Ivan Sen, is currently the Australian film industry's wunderkind a multi-talented graduate of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School who writes, directs and composes film scores. The...