Whenever I hear about an Australian film, there’s a part of me that has already decided that it probably isn’t any good. I know I’m not alone in this, but where does this cultural cringe arise?
Perhaps it’s all in the accent. Since we’re so used to hearing American accents as the norm in films, hearing one of our own on the big screen feels unnatural. It goes further than the accent, however, and can be virtually anything that is uniquely Australian that sets off the cringe. Perhaps the pervasiveness of Hollywood has skewed our perspective about what is “real” in a cinema. A movie is set in its own world of make-believe, and when an Australian begins talking with an accent we recognize from reality, the make believe and real worlds clash and it just doesn’t seem right, and then we’re cringing.
Or are the films themselves to blame? It’s seems like this debate has been going on since the beginning of time. Why can’t our films compete with Hollywood? Is it the Governments fault for not funding the right movies, or our own fault for just making garbage?
I haven’t got the answers just yet, but I’ll be watching films from the “Last New Wave” of the 70’s (where filmmakers like Peter Weir, Philip Noyce and Bruce Beresford got started) and try and pinpoint exactly where things started to go wrong, and why. Or maybe the films have been the same, and only our attitudes have changed?
Until then, here are some images from Australian films of the past. Take a look and think about how you feel about them. Do they give you a cringe, and why? Where do these reactions come from?
Also you can play a nice game of “Test your Australian film knowledge”