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Abstract only
Jonathan Rayner

Origins The category of Australian Gothic covers a broad range of film texts, with the first representatives appearing in the early 1970s at the same time as the ‘Ocker’ comedies. The films given this label share a variety of common characteristics, but the best known examples ( The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977), the Mad Max trilogy (Dr George Miller, 1979/1981/1985). Shame (Steve Jodrell, 1987)) illustrate the variations in setting, characterisation and mode that the films essay. The environments chosen

in Contemporary Australian cinema
An introduction
Editor: Jonathan Rayner

This book offers introductory readings of some of the well-known and less well-known feature productions coming out of Australia since the revival in the national film industry at the end of the 1960s. The interpretations of the texts and the careers of their makers are considered in relation to the emergence of an indigenous film culture and the construction of national identity. The majority of the films examined in the book have had theatrical or video releases in the UK. The independent development of several indigenous film genres has been an important feature of recent production, and helped to punctuate and bracket the streams of feature production that have evolved since 1970. These Australian genres have been identified and evaluated (the Australian Gothic, the period film, the male ensemble film) and are worthy of consideration both in their own right and in their intersection with other conventionalised forms. These include science fiction, fantasy and horror in comparison with the Gothic, the heritage film and literary adaptation in connection with the period film, and the war film and rite of passage in relation to the male ensemble. More recently, an aesthetic and thematic trend has emerged in the examples of Strictly Ballroom, The Adventures of Priscilla, and Muriel's Wedding, which foregrounds elements of the camp, the kitsch and the retrospective idolisation of 1970s Glamour. Such chronological, stylistic and thematic groupings are important in the interpretation of national filmmaking.

Abstract only
Jonathan Rayner

criticism within a national cinema’s ‘explanation of the structure of society’. With this kind of approach, the critical exercise might resemble a catalogue of the national cinema’s diverse flora and fauna, and not a partial, generalised and symbolic ‘map’ of the territory which has spawned them. The prehistory of Australian cinema The ideal of a national cinema, and the critical methods mobilised in its appreciation, are used to categorise the proliferating film industries which distinguish themselves culturally

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Abstract only
Jonathan Rayner

In the beginning (the late 1960s) when the desire for an Australian cinema began to be voiced actively, the project was basically anti-cultural imperialist. To be sure, some of the groups voicing antiimperialist sentiments were doing so opportunistically, with secret dreams of a ‘Hollywood-south’: but this at least was the argument which was supposed to justify government subsidisation. The whole project then surely included the notion of a cinema capable of challenging existing film conventions, existing audience

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Jonathan Rayner

Australian-ness and masculinity The male ensemble film, in its first phase up to Breaker Morant (1980), is also strongly influenced by the posture of the ocker; blunt, loud, hedonistic and conservative in the populist manner. Its working class or lower middle-class male ligure is not an appeal for class solidarity, but a gesture towards the classless common man as last bastion of ‘real’ Australian virtues and vices … the assertive use of vernacular is empowered by the feeling it is breaking with old

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Australian films in the 1990s
Jonathan Rayner

The quota quirky There are only one or two, at most live, Australian feature films in any one year that a wide cross section of the public sees and that get taken up in subsidiary general public circulation – on radio, on television and in newspaper features. In 1992, it was Strictly Ballroom and Romper Stomper ; in 1994, it was The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Sum of Us, Muriel’s Wedding. Sirens and Bad Boy Hubby . Consequently these come to represent the Australian output and

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Abstract only
Jonathan Rayner

commonly identified with the ocker films: they were tasteful and lyrical rather than brash and iconoclastic; reflective and artistic rather than physical and populist. While these attributes were just as misleading as those they replaced, they did create a ‘brand name’ for Australian films, without which there was no chance of being marketed at all. 1 3 Picnic at Hanging Rock Graeme Turner’s judgement of the place and significance of the period films produced during the

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Understanding Production, Humour and Political Context through Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012)

How Indigenous Australian history has been portrayed and who has been empowered to define it is a complex and controversial subject in contemporary Australian society. This article critically examines these issues through two Indigenous Australian films: Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012). These two films contrast in style, theme and purpose, but each reclaims Indigenous history on its own terms. Nice Coloured Girls offers a highly fragmented and experimental history reclaiming Indigenous female agency through the appropriation of the colonial archive. The Sapphires eschews such experimentation. It instead celebrates Indigenous socio-political links with African American culture, ‘Black is beautiful’, and the American Civil Rights movements of the 1960s. Crucially, both these films challenge notions of a singular and tragic history for Indigenous Australia. Placing the films within their wider cultural contexts, this article highlights the diversity of Indigenous Australian cinematic expression and the varied ways in which history can be reclaimed on film. However, it also shows that the content, form and accessibility of both works are inextricably linked to the industry concerns and material circumstances of the day. This is a crucial and overlooked aspect of film analysis and has implications for a more nuanced appreciation of Indigenous film as a cultural archive.

Film Studies
An ecological approach to rural cinema-going

This paper considers the impact of extra-filmic elements on the cultural decision-making behaviours of a small rural Australian cinema audience, focusing on the rural New South Wales village of Cobargo in the late 1920s. In considering how why such fragile rural picture show operations either failed or became successful, it is critical to take account of rural geographies, particularly in terms of early road development, and the nature and state of road bridges in flood-prone areas. The paper argues that these elements are part of a broad ecosystemic framework for cultural decision-making which can assist in our interpretation of early newspaper advertising and promotion for picture show programs.

Film Studies
A Study of Black Australian Fiction

The aim of this paper is to investigate the nature of the postcolonial Gothic through a focus on Black Australian literature (Plains of Promise by Alexis Wright and Mudrooroo‘s tetralogy, Master of the Ghost Dreaming, The Undying, Underground and The Promised Land). This paper focuses on the process of repossession of the European Gothic intertext and in particular canonical texts like Stoker‘s Dracula, which allows Mudrooroo to revive the subversive potential of the Gothic genre and use it to debunk the colonial discourse. It analyses the workings of the postcolonial Gothic and shows that instead of producing hybrid monsters through intertextual replays, Mudrooroo‘s and Alexis Wright‘s texts seem almost naturally Gothic, as if there was a certain Gothicism inherent in the postcolonial experience.

Gothic Studies