Thursday, February 18, 2010

the state of play: Australian film

Eric Repphun, who graduated last year with a PhD in religious studies and film (a project which I was involved in supervising), is currently writing on Australian film, specifically Balibo, Van Diemens Land and The Proposition (here). He is arguing for a growing genre of film in which he sees Australia film seeking to engage it’s past. He writes:

These two very different films hammer home something that has been increasingly clear in the past few years: Australia, as a nation, is attempting through the cinema to shed the shackles of its national ghosts, or at least bring these spectres into the full, harsh light of day. This is more than simple katharsis, it seems, bridging over into some more elemental; expiation maybe, even exorcism. Australia – or at least Australian art, as the Australian government seems to be committed to continuing its long history of criminal behaviour – is engaged in a collective exorcism. This is true, I suppose, of only those people who make these films or the people who choose to see them instead of Transformers. Perhaps this needs a further clarification, as this exorcism is largely confined to the ghosts of Australia’s European past. The long plight of the Aboriginal peoples is still largely consigned to the darkness, or is subject to well-meaning but ultimately hollow official attempts at apology. Something like Philip Noyce’s film Rabbit-Proof Fence, for all its striving nobility, simply doesn’t pack the emotional punch and the raw sense of wrongness that characterises the film-as-exorcism.

Seeing as I’m doing a paper on Sociology of Ministry in a few weeks, I’d be interested in how Australian’s respond to what Eric names and claims, as I am sure would Eric.

Posted by steve at 12:48 PM

1 Comment

  1. I don’t think he can have seen Samson and Delilah…

    Comment by cheryl — February 19, 2010 @ 7:56 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.