Rachel's Blog: Explain Australia in Ten Films
There's a meme going around filmic circles (and there's another rant - the idea of tagging people to complete memes, how exclusive is that? Exclusive from the verb to exclude. But the beauty of the internet is that I can steal such ideas and deliberately not credit them. Moving on then...) asking for ten films to explain America to someone from somewhere else.
What you're trying to do is give them a sense of who we are - your take on our dreams, our attitudes, our idioms, what we think we are, what we are afraid we are, what we really might be.
Which is an interesting exercise. Because of the sheer number of American movies, there is an infinite (or close to) number of combinations that can be drawn in order to give quite a specific definition of America according to one's personal experiences and opinions.
Not so with Australian films. There are relative few to choose from, and they seem to cover the same themes, or even the same stories, over and over. As this collection of comments explores, Australian films don't tell many universal tales. It's as if by taking on the task of writing an Australian film, filmmakers are also burdening themselves with the task of defining Australia, instead of concentrating on telling a good story (sorry, that should be yarn).
But I gave it a go anyway. Once I ruled out all the Australian films that I don't actually like, don't fit with my experience of what it is to be Australian, or am sick of, (war, hero-criminals, queerness, quirkiness, and films directed by Baz Luhrmann), I only came up with nine anyway. So here it is. My explanation of Australia, to a non-resident, in nine films.
- Look Both Ways
- Picnic at Hanging Rock
- Wolf Creek
- The Dish
- Rabbit Proof Fence
- The Cars that Ate Paris
- Love and Other Catastrophes
- The Rage in Placid Lake
It seems my Australia is one where the land is large and fearful; people are insecure in themselves (but will have a happy ending); homebrew technology is central, fun, although sometimes deadly; and people are cruel, and persistence against them doesn't always help.
What should number ten be? Which crucial film has slipped my mind?