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Cinema and Media Studies Australian Cinema
by
Jonathan Rayner

Introduction

The cinema of Australia has been the subject of continual, complex, and interdisciplinary scrutiny since the revival of feature film production in that country in the 1970s. Although limited academic and populist writing on Australian cinema predated the film revival, a wealth of contemporary and retrospective studies have appeared since the reemergence of Australian filmmaking on the national and international stages. Frequently, such works have been inflected with film, cultural, and media studies agendas quite apart from or in addition to the discourses of national cinema, identity, and representation that energized the filmmaking in the first place. Equally frequently, the output of Australian cinema has been studied in parallel with television, as well as with the cinema of New Zealand. The initial crop of industry-based analyses, thematically unified readings of film production, and the monograph concentration on outstanding director figures (as the currency of auteurism and the gold standard of national cinemas) has been complimented (and complicated) more recently by focused studies on issues of gender, ethnicity, Aboriginality, sexuality, and diasporic representation. These works have redressed the critical concentration on history, nation, and identity by encompassing and acknowledging an appropriate plurality of histories, nations, and identities on show in Australia’s filmmaking.

Reference Works

This section contains reference works (bibliographies, dictionaries, companion volumes, and encyclopedias) to support research and inform further reading and viewing. Atkinson, et al. 1996 and Levy 1995 offer an overview of cognate Australian media industries and personnel. McFarlane, et al. 1999 and Stewart 1984 provide standard information on all aspects of the film industry to date. Moran and Vieth 2009 provides parallel and comparative information for Australian and New Zealand industries. Moran and Vieth 2005 encompasses accessible and concise details of productions and practitioners. Palmer 1988 lists screen performers of the sound era. Reis 1997 offers an extensive bibliographical listing relating to texts, themes, personnel, and sources.

  • Atkinson, Ann, Linsay Knight, and Margaret McPhee. The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia. Vol. 1, Theatre, Film, Radio, Television. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. 1996.

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    Encompasses the parallel and overlapping creative media industries in Australia. It therefore includes details of the careers of filmmakers, writers, and performers working within and across these fields, and is useful as a comparative reference source.

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  • Levy, Wayne. The Book of the Film and the Film of the Book: A Bibliography of Australian Cinema and TV, 1895–1995. Melbourne: Academia Press, 1995.

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    A full listing of Australian film and television adapted from literature, including bibliographical details and indexes.

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  • McFarlane, Brian, Geoff Mayer, and Ina Bertrand. The Oxford Companion to Australian Film. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Contains a wealth of detail on creative personnel, performers, and productions (including credits and plot summaries). Also provides some scholarly essays on historical and thematic subjects, interviews, illustrations (including a range of stills and posters), and a listing to date of Australian Film Institute awards.

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  • Moran, Albert, and Errol Vieth. Historical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005.

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    A detailed and reliable reference source on both film industries, including a useful chronology of events, releases, and developments, and a thorough bibliography.

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  • Moran, Albert, and Errol Vieth. The A to Z of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

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    An accessible, cross-referenced source of information on the history, practitioners, texts and contexts both film industries, including notable writers, directors, actors, early filmmaking, and government funding initiatives.

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  • Palmer, Scott. A Who’s Who of Australian and New Zealand Film Actors: The Sound Era. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1988.

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    A useful reference tool, listing screen performers alphabetically, with dates of birth and death, a brief description of their careers, and titles of films in which they appear in chronological order.

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  • Reis, Brian. Australian Film: A Bibliography. London: Mansell, 1997.

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    A very large and comprehensive work containing over 14,000 entries (many annotated) listed under three headings: Subjects, People, and Films. The entries cover books, journals, theses, films, and government papers. There are indexes for film and book titles and individual authors.

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  • Stewart, John. An Encyclopaedia of Australian Film. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Reed Books, 1984.

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    This reference volume covers Australian films and filmmakers as far as the early 1980s, addresses Australian writers whose work has been adapted to the screen, and includes numerous illustrations.

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CD-ROMs

Tapp and James 1995 provides a highly usable and well-equipped resource for feature film research.

  • Tapp, Peter, and Sabine James, eds. Australian Feature Films. CD-ROM. Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1995.

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    Provides detailed production and filmographic information for Australian features produced up to 1995. It also includes some playable extracts from key titles such as Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and brief introductory essays for sections devoted to decades of film production. Produced in conjunction with the Australian Catalogue of New Films & Videos Ltd.

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Journals

A range of periodicals for industry-based, educational, scholarly, and general readerships publish or have published materials about Australian cinema. Many academic examples place the analysis and discussion of film alongside the treatment of television, modern media, art, literature, and history in the context of wider cultural studies. The Australian Journal of Cultural Studies, published from 1983 to 1987, incorporated film discussion within wider considerations of cultural production. The Australian Journal of Screen Theory, published from 1976 to 1985, focused on theoretical debates in film studies. Cinema Papers was the voice of the Australian film industry during the 1970s and 1980s. Continuum and Media International Australia are key academic journals for writing on Australian film and media. Encore is the Australian film industry’s trade paper. Metro magazine focuses discussion on popular and contemporary film, with an educational bias. Studies in Australasian Cinema is an academic journal encouraging innovative discussion of Australian and New Zealand cinema.

Industry

Texts in this section offer insight into the organization and operation of the Australian film industry in the context of wider media and creative industries, government policy toward film, commerce, and cultural representation. Bertrand 1978 addresses the issue and imposition of censorship up to the 1970s. Bertrand and Collins 1981 considers government involvement in the film industry up to the end of the 1970s. Collins and Davis 2004 examines the history and context of the industry since the 1990s. Cunningham and Turner 1993 provides comparative studies of the Australian media industries up to the 1990s. Gray and Curtis 2002 offers insight into historical and industrial factors and audiences. Molloy and Burgan 1993 provides details of economic factors and trends in contemporary film and television. Murray 1995 and Pike and Cooper 1998 provide chronological listings and filmographic information for the catalogue of production. In condensing practical and career advice, Jeffrey 2006 illuminates contemporary industry practices.

  • Bertrand, Ina. Film Censorship in Australia. St. Lucia, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1978.

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    A study of the policies and practices of film censorship in Australia up to the 1970s, and therefore connected to the controversies of sexual representation attending the success of adult-themed early revival features.

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  • Bertrand, Ina, and Diane Collins. Government and Film in Australia. Sydney: Currency Press, 1981.

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    This book explores and assesses the intervention, interaction, and influence of the Australian government and film industry up to the early revival period.

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  • Collins, Felicity, and Therese Davis. Australian Cinema After Mabo. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    This book provides a crucial refocusing of the practical, critical, and cultural responses to Australian filmmaking in the wake of the 1993 Mabo land rights judgment. As well as offering a reconsideration of the significance and impact of this event in terms of Aboriginal representation and national identity, the book also gives a very valuable overview of Australian cinema in the 1990s.

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  • Cunningham, Stuart, and Graeme Turner, eds. The Media in Australia: Industries, Texts, Audiences. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1993.

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    Offers parallel contemporary considerations of the textual, ideological, and representational strategies, of owners, practitioners, and audiences, and explores the history and future of the Australian mass media.

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  • Gray, Cathy, and Rosemary Curtis, eds. Get the Picture: Essential Data on Australian Film, Television, Video and Interactive Media. 6th ed. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 2002.

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    Using data collected by the Australian Film Commission, this volume brings together statistical analyses of production, distribution, and exhibition alongside survey essays considering the state of the contemporary film and television industries. It also includes a bibliography of sources for Australian film and television. Previous editions published in 1989 and 1992.

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  • Jeffrey, Tom, ed. Film Business: A Handbook for Producers. 3d ed. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2006.

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    A practical guide for producers, covering film finance, development, scripting, pitching, varying genres of production, copyrighting, and sales. Previous edition published in 1995.

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  • Molloy, Simon, and Barry Burgan. The Economics of Film and Television in Australia. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1993.

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    This book, written by economists studying the international film market, offers an assessment of the economic status and commercial circumstances of the national cinema, and considers the conditions under which Australian film and television productions circulate.

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  • Murray, Scott, ed. Australian Film, 1978–1994: A Survey of Theatrical Features. 2d ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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    As a companion and extension to the volumes by Pike and Cooper (see Pike and Cooper 1998), this book offers similar but more limited background information on more recent film production, and it favors retrospective critical commentary in place of contemporary reviews and reception. Previous edition published in 1993.

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  • Pike, Andrew, and Ross Cooper. Australian Film, 1900–1977: Guide to Feature Film Production. 2d ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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    This volume includes filmographic information of Australian feature productions up to the early revival period. Entries incorporate plot synopses, financial details, and summaries of national and international critical responses. Previous edition published in 1980.

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Film History

Texts in this section address (in detail or in summary) the chronological development, history of production (in silent and sound eras and post-revival), marketing and reception, and technological transitions of the Australian cinema. Shirley and Adams 1990 provides a definitive and accessible history of production in both the silent and sound eras. Long and Long 1982 examines silent cinema and the influence of imported films. Reade 1970, Reade 1975, Reade 1979, and Tulloch 1981 offer history and detail inflected with interpretations of the silent period. Reade 1972 considers the sound era in Australia. Berryman 1995 offers insight into early cinema’s conditions of production and exhibition. Edmondson and Pike 1982 uncovers aspects of silent film history and lost examples of early film.

  • Berryman, Ken. Screening the Past: Aspects of Early Australian Film; Selected Papers from the Sixth Australian History and Film Conference and Other Sources. Canberra: National Film and Sound Archive, 1995.

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    This volume gathers papers from the Sixth Australian History and Film Conference, and includes articles on early exhibition practices, Aboriginal representation, silent film restoration, and the early cinema’s relationship with stage performance.

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  • Edmondson, Ray, and Andrew Pike. Australia’s Lost Films: The Loss and Rescue of Australia’s Silent Cinema. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1982.

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    The authors acknowledge the loss of perhaps 80 percent of Australia’s silent film production, but they encourage and assess the preservation of surviving films, stills, and relevant documents as a vital component in national film culture and history.

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  • Long, Joan, and Martin Long. The Pictures That Moved: A Picture History of the Australian Cinema 1896–1929. Richmond, Australia: Hutchinson, 1982.

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    An illustrated history of Australian silent cinema, examining the effect of American film imports on local production at the end of the 1920s. The book also includes scripts of the films The Pictures That Moved and The Passionate Industry.

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  • Reade, Eric. Australian Silent Films: A Pictorial History of Silent Films from 1896 to 1929. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1970.

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    An illustrated historical overview of Australian film production in the silent period, from the beginnings of actualities to feature production, including discussion of landmark films such as The Story of the Kelly Gang and Soldiers of the Cross.

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  • Reade, Eric. The Talkies Era: A Pictorial History of Australian Sound Film Making, 1930–1960. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1972.

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    A continuation of the author’s illustrated film history, covering the problematic transition to sound, wartime and postwar documentary and feature production, and the pre-revival period.

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  • Reade, Eric. The Australian Screen: A Pictorial History of Australian Film Making. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1975.

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    This illustrated volume incorporates and expands on the author’s earlier publications on the silent era and sound film production history in Australia up to the beginning of the revival period.

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  • Reade, Eric. History and Heartburn: The Saga of Australian Film, 1896–1978. Sydney: Harper & Row, 1979.

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    This volume continues the author’s consideration of Australian production history, but in this case with the dominant emphasis placed on the feature revival of the 1970s.

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  • Shirley, Graham, and Brian Adams. Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years. Rev. ed. Woollahra, Australia: Currency Press, 1990.

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    A comprehensive, detailed but accessible overview of Australian film history from its beginnings until the 1970s. A highly useful volume for reference as well as commentary and interpretation. First published in 1983.

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  • Tulloch, John. Legends on the Screen: The Australia Narrative Cinema, 1919–1929. Sydney: Currency Press, 1981.

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    This book considers the history, productivity, and legacy of the Australian silent cinema, covering the period from 1919 to 1929, and incorporating discussion of the film industry’s relationship with Hollywood.

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Film Revival (1970s to 1980s)

Included in this section are texts interpreting and contextualizing Australian feature production during and after the 1970s. These works embrace key thematic consistencies; explore the emergence of indigenous genres; and consider the motivations, outcomes, and national and international significance of revived production (after nearly two decades of little feature filmmaking), as well as the impact of government initiatives. McFarlane 1987 comments authoritatively on the initial revival period. Moran and O’Regan 1985 and Moran and O’Regan 1989 collate significant contemporary and retrospective commentary on the resurgence in film production. Dermody and Jacka 1987 gives an overview of the national cinematic project in terms of texts, contexts, and themes. Murray 1994 surveys the debate on the role and relevance of cinema in Australia. Stratton 1980 and Hall 1985 offer more journalistic insight.

  • Dermody, Susan, and Elizabeth Jacka. The Screening of Australia. Vol. 1, Anatomy of a Film Industry. Sydney: Currency Press, 1987.

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    The works of Dermody and Jacka constitute an essential critical overview of the scope and achievements of the revival’s first decades. Volume 1 assesses the institutional factors behind the revived feature film industry. Volume 2 assesses the products of the revival themselves. Both provide informed insight into contemporary Australian cinema’s aesthetic and thematic consistencies, and examine the success of the film revival as project and objective. Volume 2, Anatomy of a National Cinema, published 1988.

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  • Hall, Sandra. Critical Business: The New Australian Cinema in Review. Adelaide, Australia: Rigby, 1985.

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    A collection of the critical responses to early revival cinema, including reviews of many significant and well-known films.

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  • McFarlane, Brian. Australian Cinema 1970–1985. London: Secker & Warburg, 1987.

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    A landmark study of the background to and significance of the renewed filmmaking activity in Australia, linking key figures and texts to the pertinent political, national, and cultural agenda.

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  • McFarlane, Brian, and Geoff Mayer. New Australian Cinema: Sources and Parallels in American and British Film. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

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    This study pursues a comprehensive and revealing comparison of Australian filmmaking from the 1970s onward, with its cultural and cinematic influences and precedents (particularly the traditions of classical narrative and melodrama) in Hollywood and Britain.

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  • Moran, Albert, and Tom O’Regan, eds. An Australian Film Reader. Sydney: Currency Press, 1985.

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    A very valuable volume of collected and commissioned writings encompassing the critical, cultural, journalistic, and lobbying voices commenting on film texts, trends, and conditions, and driving the renewal of filmmaking activity from the 1970s onward. Subsections focus on pre-revival cinema, documentary, recent feature production, and experimental filmmaking.

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  • Moran, Albert, and Tom O’Regan, eds. The Australian Screen. Ringwood, Australia: Penguin, 1989.

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    A collection of essays that embrace the full range of Australian cinema, addressing topics as diverse as silent and early sound film, “ocker” comedies, period films, Aboriginal representation, 1980s genre cinema, television drama, and documentary filmmaking.

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  • Murray, Scott, ed. Australian Cinema. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1994.

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    A volume published to coincide with a festival of Australian films in France, and consequently pitched as an accessible and uncomplicated introduction to the relevant filmmakers, trends, genres, and thematic concerns of the revival. It includes filmographic details and synopses for many landmark films.

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  • Murray, Scott, and Peter Beilby, eds. New Australian Cinema. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1980.

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    This is an edition of varying contributions, often thematically based (e.g., Brian McFarlane’s examination of horror, Adrian Martin’s essay on fantasy), which mostly address the first decade of revived film production, but which also include considerations of the prehistory of the revival and non-mainstream filmmaking.

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  • Stratton, David. The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival. Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1980.

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    Written from the perspective of journalist and critic, this book offers a commentator’s and viewer’s assessment of the films and filmmakers of the early revival period. It includes synopses of important films and is supported by pervasive interview commentary.

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Contemporary Cinema

These texts explore the later post-revival period and recent film production from the 1990s and the new millennium. Verhoeven 1999 and Mayer and Beattie 2007 provide selective illustrations of this period. Craven 2000 brings together a valuable overview in the form of thematic and interpretative essays. Gillard 2007 offers a cohesive generic reading of production. Rayner 2000 interprets and contextualizes genre film production, while Rayner’s piece in Schneider and Williams 2005 considers the significance of horror cinema in Australia. Murray 1988 provides a popular overview of the industry and texts in the 1980s. O’Regan 1996 provides a strong overview and interpretation of the cinema’s impact on Australian culture. Stratton 1990 provides a contemporary journalistic overview.

  • Craven, Ian, ed. Australian Cinema in the 1990s. London: Routledge, 2000.

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    A collection of papers previously appearing in Australian Studies. The contributions assess and interpret aspects of globalization, national identity, masculinity, film authorship, and aesthetics permeating key films of the decade.

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  • Gillard, Garry. Ten Types of Australian Film. Perth, Australia: Murdoch University, 2007.

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    This book addresses the outputs of the Australian film industry along lines of generic, consistent, and popularly targeted production, comparable in intention to the genre films emanating from Hollywood but also distinctive in tone, setting, idiom, and focus to represent, reflect, and appeal to the local audience.

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  • Mayer, Geoff, and Keith Beattie, eds. The Cinema of Australia and New Zealand. London: Wallflower, 2007.

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    Part of the 24 Frames series, this book contains essays on a range of titles from both national cinemas, including Rabbit-Proof Fence, Moulin Rouge!, After Mabo, Chopper, Jedda, The Story of the Kelly Gang, They’re a Weird Mob, The Back of Beyond, Dad and Dave Come to Town, One Night the Moon, and The Phantom Stockman.

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  • Murray, Scott, ed. Back of Beyond: Discovering Australian Film and Television. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1988.

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    This book serves as an introductory overview to Australian cinema, and was produced to accompany a program of screenings in Los Angeles. Contributions include interviews with filmmakers, discussions of the representations of landscape and indigenous populations, an appraisal of filmmaking in the 1980s, and a look forward to emerging filmmakers and themes in the 1990s.

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  • O’Regan, Tom. Australian National Cinema. London: Routledge, 1996.

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    Provides complex, challenging, and wide-ranging consideration of the Australian cinema as national and political phenomenon and cultural and aesthetic enterprise. Compares and contrasts Australian filmmaking with other national and postcolonial cinemas, and also confronts the Australian cinema’s record on comprehensive, inclusive representation of the country’s diverse immigrant and indigenous communities.

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  • Rayner, Jonathan. Contemporary Australian Cinema: An Introduction. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2000.

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    An introductory text to the study of Australian cinema since the 1970s. Rayner identifies and interprets the conventions and consistencies in mainstream film production in terms of funding patterns and emergent Australian genres and auteurs.

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  • Schneider, Steven Jay, and Tony Williams, eds. Horror International. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005.

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    A collection of essays on traditions of horror cinema outside of Hollywood filmmaking, including a contribution on Australian Gothic films by Jonathan Rayner.

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  • Stratton, David. The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry. Sydney: Macmillan, 1990.

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    An accompaniment and update to the author’s earlier overview of 1970s cinema (Stratton 1980, cited under Film Revival [1970s to 1980s]), this volume addresses Australian filmmaking in the 1980s. It incorporates production context and critical commentary on significant titles, interviews with notable filmmakers, and a filmographic listing of titles produced in the decade.

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  • Verhoeven, Deb, ed. Twin Peeks: Australian and New Zealand Feature Films. Melbourne: Damned Publishing, 1999.

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    As well as including a catalogue of relevant titles, this collection of essays foregrounds the difficulties of definition for both the Australian and New Zealand cinemas, and addresses their problematic status in terms of national, postcolonial, and cultural identities; transnational and coproduction; and queer theory.

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Filmmakers

    This section reflects the critical response to the Australian cinema derived from auteurist and authorship-based discourses. It contains numerous volumes dedicated to the analysis of the work of individual directors (Cunningham 1991 addressing Chauvel; Morgan 2009 discussing Kathner; and Bliss 2000, Haltof 1996, Leonard 2009, and Rayner 2003 concentrating on Weir), and a similar wealth of collections of interviews with significant filmmaking figures. Hall 1977 and Hall 1980 offer individual insight into the career of an Australian filmmaker across several key decades.

  • Bliss, Michael. Dreams Within a Dream: The Films of Peter Weir. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.

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    A concerted study of the director’s work from an auteurist perspective, concentrating on the influence of Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis on the films, as well as readings of the films through the filter of psychoanalysis.

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  • Cunningham, Stuart. Featuring Australia: The Cinema of Charles Chauvel. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991.

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    An auteurist-inspired critical biography exploring and assessing the career, productions, and significance of the pioneering independent filmmaker Charles Chauvel.

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  • Hall, Ken G. Directed by Ken G. Hall: Autobiography of an Australian Film Maker. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1977.

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    A personal and anecdotal account of the author’s filmmaking career, covering the fiction and documentary filmmaking from the late 1920s until the 1950s.

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  • Hall, Ken G. Australian Film: The Inside Story. Sydney: Summit Books, 1980.

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    Expanded version of the author’s earlier autobiographical work, providing a personal account of his life and work at Cinesound, the newsreel and feature film production base, in the interwar and postwar periods.

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  • Haltof, Marek. Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide. London: Prentice Hall, 1996.

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    A thematic director-centered examination of Weir’s output up to Fearless (1993), concentrating on the thematic continuities of cultural conflict and individual transformation.

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  • Leonard, Richard. The Mystical Gaze of the Cinema: The Films of Peter Weir. Carleton, Victoria: Melbourne University Publishing, 2009.

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    An interpretation of Weir’s output that concentrates on the spiritual and mystical dimensions of the director’s features, and on aspects of visual style and intertextuality, and that then relates these to the theory of the cinematic gaze.

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  • Morgan, Alec. Reel Crimes: The Films of Australian Maverick Rupert Kathner. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM, 2009.

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    Provides a history and critical appreciation of the significance of the career and work of the controversial independent filmmaker Rupert Kathner. Includes the screenplay for Hunt Angels, the feature production based on Kathner’s life.

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  • Rayner, Jonathan. The Films of Peter Weir. 2d ed. New York: Continuum, 2003.

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    An auteurist study of Weir’s filmmaking in Australia and Hollywood, addressing the continuities of theme and style in terms of the director’s negotiation of Australian and American genre conventions and his adoption of European art-cinema aesthetics.

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Women Filmmakers

The specific consideration accorded female filmmakers by these works, and the significance of the careers of Australasian female directors and producers within the industry context and in critical discourses, prompt this separate listing. Verhoeven 2009 and Margolis 2000 focus scrutiny on Jane Campion in distinctive ways. Collins 1999 gives an inclusive reading of Gillian Armstrong’s films. Wright 1986 and Robson and Zalcock 1997 provide critical summaries and interrogations of various female directors’ films and careers. Cox and Laura 1992 and Blonski, et al. 1987 provide industrial contextual insight, while Lovell 1995 is based on the author’s personal history and experience as a producer.

  • Blonski, Annette, Barbara Creed, and Freda Freiberg, eds. Don’t Shoot Darling! Women’s Independent Filmmaking in Australia. Richmond, Australia: Greenhouse, 1987.

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    This varied collection offers a survey of non-mainstream and nonfiction feminist filmmaking in 1970s and 1980s Australia, and includes interviews, textual analyses, and contextual discussions of the contemporary production environment.

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  • Collins, Felicity. The Films of Gillian Armstrong. St. Kilda, Australia: Australian Film Institute Research and Information Centre, 1999.

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    Adopting a critical stance to its auteurist subject, this study provides a detailed overview of the work and career of first and foremost female filmmaker of the revival, and includes consideration of her Australian and American productions.

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  • Cox, Eva, and Sharon Laura. “What Do I Wear for a Hurricane?”: Women in Australian Film, Television, Video and Radio Industries. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1992.

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    A report investigating the inclusion and participation of women in Australian film and television production in the early 1990s. Published in collaboration with the National Working Party on the Portrayal of Women in the Media.

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  • Lovell, Patricia. No Picnic: an Autobiography. Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 1995.

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    An autobiography by an outstanding female producer of the early revival period, offering candid insight to the development and production of key texts such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Gallipoli.

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  • Margolis, Harriet, ed. Jane Campion’s The Piano. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    A collection of critically and theoretically driven essays devoted to Campion’s film, recognizing and asserting its significance in terms of national, feminist, and art cinema discourses.

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  • Robson, Jocelyn, and Beverley Zalcock. Girls’ Own Stories: Australian and New Zealand Women’s Films. London: Scarlet Press, 1997.

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    Responding to and critically appraising the raised profile of female Australasian filmmakers in the 1990s, this volume considers the works of Gillian Armstrong, Jane Campion, Gaylene Preston, Alison Maclean, Tracey Moffatt, and Merata Mita.

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  • Verhoeven, Deb. Jane Campion. New York: Routledge, 2009.

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    Offers an informed appreciation of Jane Campion’s auteur status, using the career of this outstanding filmmaker to highlight and interrogate the vagaries of film authorship as a concept and prejudicial critical practice.

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  • Wright, Andree. Brilliant Careers: Women in Australian Cinema. Sydney: Pan Books, 1986.

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    Concentrating on the roles of female stars such as Lotte Lyell and careers of women involved in film production such as Elsa Chauvel, this book provides an addition and balance to film historical accounts of the Australian film industry in the silent and early sound periods.

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Interviews

In this section, collections of interviews with filmmakers consolidate the auteurist approach by exploring personal motivations, interpretations, and intentions via interviews with filmmakers and performers. Hamilton and Mathews 1986 and Mathews 1984 illustrate the work of early revival figures, while Malone 2001, Burton and Caputo 1999, and Burton and Caputo 2002 represent more recent filmmakers, stars, and other personnel. Quinn and Urban 1998 focuses on the role of the Australian Film Television and Radio School within the revival period.

  • Burton, Geoff, and Raffaele Caputo, eds. Second Take: Australian Film-Makers Talk. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1999.

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    A collection of interviews and insights paralleling the Projections series. Contributors and subjects in this volume include John Duigan, Jane Campion, Bill Bennett, Mike Rubbo, and British filmmakers in Australia, specifically Harry Watt’s Ealing production of The Overlanders.

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  • Burton, Geoff, and Raffaele Caputo, eds. Third Take: Australian Film-Makers Talk. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2002.

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    A further collection of interviews and commentaries from Australian filmmakers and other creative personnel, with pieces on or by Andrew Dominik, Rolf de Heer, and Phillip Noyce. The production and background to Noyce’s film Newsfront form the basis of several articles.

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  • Hamilton, Peter, and Sue Mathews. American Dreams, Australian Movies. Sydney: Currency Press, 1986.

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    This book contains an illuminating range of interviews with key figures in the Australian and American film industries, conducted at a time when Australian films were penetrating the American market successfully. Observations and concerns about the influence of America and Australian filmmakers’ emulation of and gravitation toward Hollywood permeate the commentaries.

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  • Malone, Peter. Myth and Meaning: Australian Film Directors in Their Own Words. Sydney: Currency Press, 2001.

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    A collection of interviews with filmmakers, mainly directors (including Tim Burstall, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, and Fred Schepisi) who came to prominence in the early revival period.

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  • Mathews, Sue. 35mm Dreams: Conversations with Five Directors About the Australian Film Revival. Ringwood, Australia: Penguin, 1984.

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    This volume contains lengthy interviews with key figures of the early revival period (Peter Weir, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Fred Schepisi, and John Duigan), which integrate explorations of personal motivation and methodology with analysis of the production context, funding, and the reception of their work.

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  • Quinn, Meredith, and Andrew L. Urban, eds. Edge of the Known World: The Australian Film Television and Radio School; Impressions of The First 25 Years. Sydney: Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), 1998.

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    Published to mark the 25th anniversary of the AFTRS’s founding, this book includes interviews with key figures (graduates as well as teachers and founders) from the film school’s past and present.

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Film and Landscape

These texts foreground the function of pervasive landscape depictions in Australian cinema. Fish 2007 includes a survey by Jonathan Rayner on the significance of Australian film landscapes. Gibson 1992 gives a wide-ranging analysis of Australian cultural and national discourses, including the significance of landscape. Harper and Rayner 2010 includes an essay by Graeme Harper on Australian film landscapes. Haynes 1998 links representations of the Australian desert in film with visual art and literature

  • Fish, Robert, ed. Cinematic Countrysides. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007.

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    This volume is an addition to the growing discussion of landscapes on film; it concentrates entirely on the representation of the rural environment and includes a chapter on Australian cinema by Jonathan Rayner.

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  • Gibson, Ross. South of the West: Postcolonialism and the Narrative Construction of Australia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

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    As suggested by the title, this wide-ranging consideration of Australian arts and media problematizes the positioning of the country, culture, and nation in relation to historical Western influences. As well as continuing the author’s work on Australian landscapes in film, the chapters include discussions of documentary films and the cinema of the 1970s.

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  • Harper, Graeme, and Jonathan Rayner, eds. Cinema and Landscape. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2010.

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    A collection of essays on the significance of landscape in the history, production, and reading of various national cinemas, with a chapter on Australian film landscapes by Graeme Harper.

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  • Haynes, Roslynn D. Seeking the Centre: The Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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    A consideration of the occurrence and significance of the representation of the Australian desert across varied art and media forms and texts.

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Documentary Film

These texts offer detailed consideration and appreciation of Australia’s substantial documentary filmmaking heritage, and examine the contexts, proponents, and products of nonfiction filmmaking. Moran 1991; Williams 2008; and FitzSimons, et al. 2011 offer a full overview of Australian documentary film history. Lansell and Beilby 1982 surveys significant productions and personnel up to the early 1980s. Moran 1991 addresses government filmmaking and institutions with a crucial role in maintaining and reviving film production. Williams 2008 examines important postwar developments and initiatives in documentary production.

  • FitzSimons, Trish, Dugald Williamson, and Pat Laughren. Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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    A new critical and cultural consideration of the 100-year history and varied practices of Australian documentary. The discussion is extended beyond film and television to digital developments, and it connects the role of documentary filmmaking with the feature film project of defining and broadcasting concepts of national identity.

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  • Lansell, Ross, and Peter Beilby, eds. The Documentary Film in Australia. North Melbourne: Cinema Papers/Film Victoria, 1982.

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    This book offers a detailed survey of the history and key texts and personnel of Australian documentary filmmaking to date.

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  • Moran, Albert. Projecting Australia: Government Film since 1945. Sydney: Currency Press, 1991.

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    An examination of the institutional and formal context of operation for the Commonwealth Film Unit and Film Australia, the principal sites for documentary film production in the decades preceding the revival.

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  • Williams, Deane. Australian Post-War Documentary Film: An Arc of Mirrors. Bristol, UK, and Chicago: Intellect, 2008.

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    A contextualization and reappraisal of Australian documentary filmmaking within politicized realist traditions, including close analysis of films from the 1940s and 1950s as evidence of an eclectic and challenging postwar documentary film culture.

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Film Music

These works on the integral significance of film scores in the aesthetic and affective strengths of Australian film provide an insight largely without parallel in the critical discourses of other national cinemas. Coyle 1998 considers specific examples of the significance of film music in the 1970s and 1980s. Coyle 2005 expands and updates this study to more recent examples.

  • Coyle, Rebecca, ed. Screen Scores: Studies in Contemporary Australian Film Music. Sydney: AFTRS, 1998.

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    This book provides case studies and commentaries on the integration and relevance of music in Australian films, including the patterning and significance of soundtracks in the films of Peter Weir, and the sound “landscape” of the Mad Max trilogy.

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  • Coyle, Rebecca, ed. Reel Tracks: Australian Feature Film Music and Cultural Identities. Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey, 2005.

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    A highly varied collection of essays addressing Australian film music since the 1990s. Films covered include Chopper, Bad Boy Bubby, Ned Kelly, beDevil, One Night the Moon, and Rabbit-Proof Fence, with the final contribution surveying Australian film scores between 1994 and 2004.

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Aboriginality, Ethnicity, and Identity

In spite of significant differences in the approaches, motivations, and scopes of these texts, and of the varied circumstances and histories of the specific communities and productions they discuss in relation to the Australian cinema, they are grouped together here for emphasis and comparison. Langton 1993 is indispensable for consideration of Aboriginal media representation and consciousness. Donovan and Lorraine 2002 considers the controversial production of the 1992 film Jindalee Lady. Ellis 2008 examines the representation of disability in Australian film. Jennings 1993 explores representations of Aboriginality and gender. Landman 2006 focuses on specific Australian productions in the Pacific between the 1920s and 1960s. Malone 1987 and Syron and Kearney 1996 survey Aboriginal participation in the film industry in representation and production. Searle 1997 surveys representations of homosexuality and lesbianism in Australian film and television. Simpson, et al. 2009 encompasses a range of immigrant and diasporic production and representation in Australia.

  • Donovan, Thomas, and Brody T. Lorraine. Media Ethics, an Aboriginal Film and the Australian Film Commission. Lincoln, NE: Writers Club Press, 2002.

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    The authors detail all stages of the conception, production, postproduction, and marketing of Jindalee Lady, the first Australian feature film made by an Aboriginal director, and explores the controversy of the Australian Film Commission’s decision-making processes and policies of support for indigenous filmmaking.

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  • Ellis, Katie. Disabling Diversity: The Social Construction of Disability in 1990s Australian National Cinema. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM, 2008.

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    One of the first analyses of the portrayal of disability in contemporary international cinema. Critically examines numerous Australian films, from the 1990s onward, that foreground the personal and sociological implications of disability.

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  • Jennings, Karen. Sites of Difference: Cinematic Representations of Aboriginality and Gender. Melbourne: Australian Film Institute, 1993.

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    Examines the problematic representation of Aboriginal women in the cinema, comparing pervasive images in fiction films with collaborative cultural depictions in documentaries and in independent filmmaking. Tracey Moffatt’s short films Nice Coloured Girls and Night Cries are discussed in detail.

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  • Landman, Jane. The Tread of a White Man’s Foot: Australian Pacific Colonialism and the Cinema, 1925–62. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006.

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    This book assumes a narrow and very detailed focus on a small group of films (produced by Lee Robinson, Frank Hurley, and Ken Hall and shot in the Torres Strait, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific islands), which, it is argued, reflect Australia’s own colonial ambitions in the interwar and postwar periods.

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  • Langton, Marcia. “Well, I Heard it on the Radio and Saw it on the Television . . .”: An Essay for the Australian Film Commission on the Politics and Aesthetics of Film-Making by and about Indigenous People and Things. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1993.

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    A landmark contribution to the consideration of the representation, appropriation, and reception of Aboriginal matters in the Australian cinema. Langton’s essay considers the textual construction of Aboriginality, the economic and cultural restrictions of filmmaking, and the necessity of intercultural dialogue within Australia’s society, media institutions, and policymaking bodies.

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  • Malone, Peter. In Black and White and Colour: Aborigines in Australian Feature Films; A Survey. Leura, Australia: Nelen Yubu Missiological Unit, 1987.

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    Provides an overview of Aboriginal representation, performance, and participation in Australian film since the silent era.

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  • Searle, Samantha. Queer-ing the Screen: Sexuality and Australian Film and Television. South Melbourne: Australian Film Institute, 1997.

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    Part of the AFI Moving Image series, this book offers an examination of the representation of homosexuality and lesbianism in Australian film and television.

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  • Simpson, Catherine, Renata Murawska, and Anthony Lambert, eds. Diasporas of Australian Cinema. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2009.

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    A volume of essays bringing together analyses of the representation and participation in production of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian diasporic communities within Australia, in mainstream, independent, and documentary filmmaking.

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  • Syron, Brian, and Briann Kearney. Kicking Down the Doors: A History of Indigenous Filmmakers from 1968–1993. Sydney: Donobri International Communications, 1996.

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    Completed after the death of filmmaker Brian Syron, this book gives a personal perspective on the involvement of indigenous populations in Australian filmmaking. It also provides a listing of films with Aboriginal representation and for their spectatorship.

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Film Marketing and Publicity

These titles provide insight into the processes of publicity and marketing, both in general and in specific cases of Australian film. Adamson 1978 looks at the use of film posters, Clark 1999 examines the detailed production history of a particular film, and Reid 1993 looks at various aspects of the development and marketing of three films. Bertrand 1989 and James 1995 consider publicity and review materials alongside details of production, exhibition, and cinema-going.

  • Adamson, Judith. Australian Film Posters 1906–1960. Sydney: Currency Press, 1978.

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    This large-format book contains reproductions of vintage Australian film posters, with related commentary on the significant productions covered, such as Jedda (1952).

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  • Bertrand, Ina, ed. Cinema in Australia: A Documentary History. Kensington, Australia: New South Wales University Press, 1989.

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    Contains a collection of essays introducing and surveying historical periods of production, which are accompanied by illustrations, reviews, and publicity materials to create an accessible record of Australian cinema.

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  • Clark, Al. The Lavender Bus: How a Hit Movie Was Made and Sold. Sydney: Currency Press, 1999.

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    First published by Penguin in 1994, this book (written by the producer) charts the development, production, marketing, and reception of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

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  • James, Sabine, ed. A Century of Australian Cinema. Port Melbourne: Heinemann, 1995.

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    A lavishly illustrated collection of essays covering aspects of distribution, exhibition, and cinema architecture, as well as film publicity and reviews. The emphasis is placed squarely on pre-revival cinema, but the book also addresses aspects of filmmaking of and since the 1970s.

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  • Reid, Mary Anne. Long Shots to Favourites: Australian Cinema Successes in the 90s. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1993.

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    This book provides background details of the development, financing, marketing and commercial impact of three outstanding Australian films of the 1990s (Proof, Strictly Ballroom, and Romper Stomper).

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Film and Literature

These texts examine the interplay of literature and film and the occurrences of film adaptation from literature in the construction of national narratives and images. McFarlane 1983 examines key instances of literary adaptation. Turner 1993 considers examples of film and literature in the rendering of national discourses and mythologies. Shears and Dixon 1982 offers a targeted study of the adaptation of The Man from Snowy River.

  • McFarlane, Brian. Words and Images: Australian Novels into Film. Richmond, Australia: Heinemann, 1983.

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    This book examines the principles and processes of literary adaptation to film, and provides illustrations of their significance to the revival cinema through detailed consideration of nine Australian novels adapted to film (including Wake in Fright, The Getting of Wisdom, and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith), and of the adaptation of Martin Boyd’s fiction to television.

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  • Shears, John, and Richard Dixon. The Man from Snowy River: The Story of a Great Australian Film. South Yarra, Australia: Currey O’Neil, 1982.

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    An illustrated account of the adaptation of A. B. Patterson’s emblematic poem in the successful 1980s feature film.

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  • Turner, Graeme. National Fictions: Literature, Film and the Construction of Australian Narrative. 2d ed. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1993.

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    Through a series of thematically based chapters, this book explores and compares the continuities of narrative and characterization established in national literature and propagated through the Australian cinema. It addresses the roots and relevance of national narratives, as well as their impact on culture and identity construction. First published in 1986.

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Text and Nation

Listings here address the interconnectedness of cinema and sociocultural discourses, ideas of national character and identity, and the significance of literary and mythic texts to the cinema. McGregor 2010 offers insight into the grasp of Australian culture facilitated by the cinema. Molloy 1990 and Rattigan 1991 address national images, archetypes, and stereotypes adopted and propounded within the cinema. Reynaud 2007 considers the scope and significance of representations of Australia’s involvement in World War I. Sheckels 2002 focuses on the definition and expression of notions of masculinity and heroism. Tulloch 1982 considers the national film industry and its cultural specificity in the light of the influence of imported films. Turner 1993 incorporates both national and anthropological significances to filmmaking. Verhoeven 2006 gives a targeted study of nationally specific imagery.

  • McGregor, Andrew. Film Criticism as Cultural Fantasy: The Perpetual French Discovery of Australian Cinema. New York: Peter Lang, 2010.

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    Examines a meeting point of cultural representation and film analysis in the French critical response to Australian cinema. The analysis considers the inflections and preconceptions of French writing on Australian culture, and relates them to abiding film studies discourses such as auteurism, with attention being paid to the example of Jane Campion.

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  • Molloy, Bruce. Before the Interval: Australian Mythology and Feature Films, 1930–1960. St. Lucia, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1990.

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    Offers an examination of national images and narratives contained within the Australian cinema of the pre-revival sound era.

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  • Rattigan, Neil. Images of Australia: 100 Films of the New Australian Cinema. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1991.

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    Explores the filmic representation of Australian society, culture, landscape, national character, and identity since the 1970s.

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  • Reynaud, Daniel. Celluloid Anzacs: The Great War Through Australian Cinema. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007.

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    Reynaud examines the representation of Australia’s involvement in the World War I in film and television. It assesses the definition, manipulation, appropriation, and propagation of national history and depictions of national character and identity in relation to a foundational cultural myth.

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  • Sheckels, Theodore F. Celluloid Heroes Down Under: Australian Film, 1970–2000. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    This book examines a considerable range of post-revival features to assess a concept of heroism conveyed by a consistent thematic core (encompassing libertarianism, anti-intellectualism, resistance to authority, fatalism, and sexism), and through the depictions of a range of character types distinguished by age, gender, and ethnicity.

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  • Tulloch, John. Australian Cinema: Industry, Narrative and Meaning. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1982.

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    Tulloch continues the consideration of Australian production history into the sound era, against the backdrop of overseas influences on the national film industry.

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  • Turner, Graeme, ed. Nation, Culture, Text: Australian Cultural and Media Studies. London: Routledge, 1993.

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    A collection of important essays in the territory of Australian cultural and media studies. Section 1 contains an essay by Eric Michaels on the anthropological applications of film and video; Section 2 contains a contribution from Elizabeth Jacka on the endurance and relevance on Australian cinema in national and international terms.

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  • Verhoeven, Deb. Sheep and the Australian Cinema. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Publishing, 2006.

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    An accessible study of the cinematic representation of sheep, which illuminates the significance of this image within Australian cinema through the close analysis of The Squatter’s Daughter (1933) and Bitter Springs (1950).

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Film Audiences

Texts in this section foreground consideration of the audience for Australian cinema, both at home and abroad. Baxter 1986 provides an accessible discussion of Australian cinema and its national audience. Malone 1995 considers examples of national and international success from the 1970s to the 1990s. Menary 1979 examines the cinema in relation to notions of Australian culture.

  • Baxter, John. Filmstruck: Australia at the Movies. Sydney: ABC Enterprises, 1986.

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    A tie-in to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) television series with the same title, written and presented by the author, this text offers a popular history of the Australian film industry and its audience.

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  • Malone, Peter. Cinema Down Under: Australian Film at Home and to the World. Brussels: OCIC, 1995.

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    Offers a selective personal, historical, and contextual reading of a selection of Australian features distinguished by success at home and abroad, including Proof, Mad Max, Strictly Ballroom, The Man from Snowy River, and Malcolm. As well as reviewing past successes, the author looks forward to Australian cinema in the 21st century.

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  • Menary, Bill. The Moving Image: Australian Cinema and Society. Adelaide, Australia: Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, 1979.

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    A short and accessible work exploring the connections and relevance of the emerging film industry to national culture.

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Independent Film

This section includes texts addressing the Australian independent, non-mainstream, and avant-garde film production sector. Following from Treole 1982, Hodsdon 2001 provides a thorough and strongly opinioned history of non-mainstream production.

  • Hodsdon, Barrett. Straight Roads and Crossed Lines: The Quest for Film Culture in Australia from the 1960s? Shenton Park, Australia: Bernt Porridge Group, 2001.

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    A personal and polemical work that offers a wide-ranging consideration of postwar Australian film culture, particularly the hinterland of independent production. The question mark in the title indicates the author’s pervasive skepticism about the persistence of a viable Australian film culture behind and beneath the resurgence of film production since the 1970s.

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  • Treole, Victoria, ed. Australian Independent Film. Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1982.

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    As a balance to the emphasis placed on revived feature production in the 1970s, this book contains filmographic details and short summaries of the numerous short, independent, and nonfiction films made between 1972 and 1982.

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LAST MODIFIED: 10/28/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791286-0008

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