Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema

Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema

Poetics and Screen Geographies

By Allison Craven

Anthem Studies in Australian Literature and Culture

'Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema' explores gender, race and place in selected Australian films in various phases of Australian cinema: from Charles Chauvel’s 'Jedda' (1955), to the ‘period’ films of the New Wave in the 1970s, to the Indigenous filmmakers since the 1990s, and the contemporary era of transnational productions in Australia.

Hardback, 172 Pages


July 2016

£115.00, $115.00

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About This Book

‘Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema’ explores aspects of gender, race and region in films and television produced in the northern Australian state of Queensland. Drawing on a range of scholarly sources and an extensive filmography, the essays in the book investigate poetics and production histories from the 'period' films of the Australian cinema revival of the 1970s to contemporary 'Queensland-genre' films, highlighting the resonances of regional locations amid the energetic growth of the film industry, and promotion of Queensland as a production destination.

‘Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema’ comprises eight essays, an introduction and conclusion, and the analysis of poetics and cultural geographies is focused on landmark films and television. The first section of the book, ‘Backtracks: Landscape and Identity’, refers to films from and before the revival, beginning with the 1978 film 'The Irishman' as an example of heritage cinema in which performances of gender and race, like the setting, suggest a romanticised and uncritical image of colonial Australia. It is compared to Baz Luhrmann’s 'Australia' (2008) and several other films. In the second chapter, ‘Heritage Enigmatic’, 'The Irishman' is also drawn into comparison with Charles Chauvel’s ‘Jedda’ (1955), as films that incorporate Indigenous performances in this heritage discourse through the role of voice and sound. In Part 2, ‘Silences in Paradise’, the first essay, ‘Tropical Gothic’, focuses on Rachel Perkins’s 'Radiance' (1998) as a landmark post-colonial film that questions the connotations of icons of paradise in Queensland. The discussion leads to films, in the next chapter, ‘Island Girls Friday’, that figure women on Queensland islands, spanning the pre-revival and contemporary era: ‘Age of Consent’ (1969), ‘Nim’s Island’ (2008) and ‘Uninhabited’ (2010). Part 3, ‘Masculine Dramas of the Coast’ moves to the Gold Coast, in films dating from before and since the current spike in transnational production at the Warner Roadshow film studios there, namely, 'The Coolangatta Gold' (1984), 'Peter Pan' (2003), and 'Sanctum' (2011). The final section, ‘Regional Backtracks’, turns, first, to two television series, ‘Remote Area Nurse’ (2006), and ‘The Straits’ (2012), that share unique provenance of production in the Torres Strait and far north regions of Queensland, while, in the final chapter, the iconic outback districts of western Queensland figure the convergence of land, landscape and location in films with potent perspectives on Indigenous histories in ‘The Proposition’ (2005) and ‘Mystery Road’ (2013). ‘Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema’ presents the various regions as syncretic spaces subject to transitions of social and industry practices over time.


"Finding Queensland is an eclectic and innovative study of regional Queensland through an examination of specific film texts and the varied cinematic identities they construct of the region as well as the nation. Analysis considers the region as a geographical construct from diverse perspectives including landscapes, history, Indigeneity, Australian-international film, film genre, and gender. The book is a welcome addition to Australian cinema studies for academics, researchers and postgraduate students researching and teaching landscape, cultural identity or gender in film studies, cultural studies and Australian studies." —Dr Mark David Ryan, Queensland University of Technology

"Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema makes an important contribution not only to Queensland's role and status within national film-making histories, but more broadly to the fields of Australian spatial inquiry and the 'regional turn' therein. Craven's analysis of Queensland as a series of regional spaces will be of interest not just to those working in the area of cinema studies, but also to those interested in analysis of Australian cultural geographies more broadly writ." —Dr Stephen Carleton, University of Queensland

Author Information

Allison Craven is a Senior Lecturer in English and Screen Studies in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.


Anthem Studies in Australian Literature and Culture

Table of Contents

List of Figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction: Regional Features; Part 1 Backtracks: Landscape and Identity; Chaper 1. Period Features, Heritage Cinema: Region, Gender and Race in The Irishman; Chaper 2. Heritage Enigmatic: The Silence of the Dubbed in Jedda and The Irishman; Part 2 Silences in Paradise; Chaper 3. Tropical Gothic and the Music of the Cane Fields in Radiance; Chaper 4. Island Girls Friday: Women, Adventure and the Tropics; Part 3 Masculine Dramas of the Coast; Chaper 5. The Sunshine Boys: Peter Pan and the Iron Man in the Coastal Cinema of Queensland; Chaper 6. A Pacific Parable: Cave and Coastal Masculinities in Sanctum; Part 4 Regional Backtracks; Chaper 7. Unknown Queensland in Torres Strait Television: RAN and The Straits; Chaper 8. Back to the Back: Genre Queensland and Westerns in Winton; Conclusion: On Location in Queensland; Notes; Filmography; Works Cited; Index.


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