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EnhanceTV :: Feature Articles :: Australian identity: a cinematic roll call

Australian identity: a cinematic roll call
Australian identity: a cinematic roll call 
Since the beginnings of cinema in Australia from around 1896, Australian films have charted a range of views of the Australian identity, and in this article, I have identified four main strands.

The first category can be labelled 'The Larrikin Image'. This 'she'll be right, mate', dour, get the job done, or good-natured sense of humour category can be identified in films dating back to 1919 (The Sentimental Bloke). Best exemplifying this image are the Dad and Dave characters in the series of films beginning with On Our Selection (1932), and culminating in the recent, disastrous remake with Joan Sutherland (1995) - from which the audience stayed away in droves. 40,000 Horsemen (1940) and The Rats of Tobruk (1944) featuring Chips Rafferty are prime examples of the dour Australian at war, also found in such films as Eureka Stockade (1949), A Town Like Alice (1956), Robbery Under Arms (1956), Smiley (1956) and The Shiralee (1957). A variation of this theme continues in The Sundowners (1960), Storm Boy (1976) and Man From Snowy River (1982), while some film-makers gave it a harder edge in such films as Caddie (1974), Petersen (1974), Sunday Too Far Away (1975), Fast Talking (1982) and We of the Never Never (1982), a trend that reaches its apotheosis with the classic Mad Max (1979).
 

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Learning Areas English, Media Studies
Level Secondary, Tertiary
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