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Understanding Production, Humour and Political Context through Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012)
Benjin Pollock

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
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10 2019 05 2019 20 20 1 1 21 21 35 35 10.7227/FS.20.0002 Beyond the Burden of History in Indigenous Australian Cinema Understanding Production, Humour and Political Context through Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012) Pollock Benjin 10 2019 05 2019 20 20 1

An ecological approach to rural cinema-going
Kate Bowles

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