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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
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Jonathan Rayner

between 1975 and 1982. To a large extent the period drama and literary adaptation came to define the products of the Australian cinema abroad, providing the ‘brand name’ seen as necessary for the film industry. 5 The filmic depiction of the country’s history, both distant and recent, stressed the nation’s cultural heritage. This was portrayed as derived almost entirely from European (British) models, just as the simplified conception of the nation it supported was limited to the white settler population. This ideological

in Contemporary Australian cinema
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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

sheer loneliness of the settings in which these took place – than with how it has made itself felt in the new Australian cinema. 3 The working environment The proximity in the timing of production between the first male ensemble films and the Ocker comedies prompts a comparison between the treatment of the stereotypical male Australian across both types. The convergence is strongest in Don’s Party (Bruce Beresford, 1976). Beresford, as the director and co-writer of The

in Contemporary Australian cinema
Abstract only
Jonathan Rayner

simply exploiting its initial gimmicky premise … the film instead homes in on its subject with a quite relentless single-mindedness. ‘Mateship’ has rarely been accorded a more acid depiction in Australian cinema. 8 While engaging in its withering examination of violent prejudice allowed to go unchecked in the isolated community, Shame also recognises the town’s economic circumstances as a contributory factor in the women’s oppression. Most if not all of the women work in the factory processing hunted

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

. Having been made with the assistance of the AFFC. Death in Brunswick went on to become the second highest grossing Australian film at the home box office in 1991. The third highest grossing film in Australian cinemas in the same year was Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse. 1991), another writer-directorial debut. The narrative of Proof is built on paradoxes of truth and appearance, sight and perception, emanating from the central character Martin, a blind photographer played by Hugo Weaving. Having believed as a child that his

in Contemporary Australian cinema
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Brian McFarlane

below the regular ‘On Television’ pages in an edition of the New Yorker in which Emily Nussbaum reviews the series The Night Manager and others, with no apparent special reason to use the title and making no reference to the film. 42 To end this eclectic selection of pieces highlighting the 1945 film’s name, even if that’s the extent of the articles’ concerns, an editor gave the following title to an essay of mine on the incidence of British film in Australian cinemas: ‘Brief encounters: British cinema in Australia’. 43 Historically, it belonged to the period

in The never-ending Brief Encounter
Finding meaning and identity in the rural Australian landscape
Jonathan Rayner

indigenous peoples). The representation of the land provides an appropriate accent to the Australian cinema’s idiom: the mountains, the desert, the bush and the coast may have acquired specific, but not neces sarily one-dimensional, meanings in characterisation and mise-enscène , and these environments appear as much as agents as atmospheres within the national film industry

in Cinematic countrysides
Open Access (free)
An allegory of imperial rapport
Deirdre Gilfedder

Britain. 27 Yet they also signal its declining relevance in an increasingly multicultural society with the narrow focus on the ‘Anglo’ white male dissipating in the films of the 1990s and beyond. Felicity Collins and Therese Davis demonstrate the rupture that the Mabo decision of 1992 (a High Court decision that allowed Indigenous Australians to claim their land rights) brought to Australian cinema, 28 introducing a

in The British monarchy on screen