No Laughing Matter: An Exploration Of The Role Of The Protagonist In Australian Feature Films Classified As Social Comedies.

Enders, Mark (2004) No Laughing Matter: An Exploration Of The Role Of The Protagonist In Australian Feature Films Classified As Social Comedies. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Australian film has engaged social issues since its earliest days, often within the genre of comedy. Writers and filmmakers have treated a wide range of issues with varying degrees of success in engaging their audience in a level of social discourse. This success has been independent of the specific issue addressed, the government funding policy, cultural policy, the national and international political climate, and available technologies. Rather it can be attributed to the filmmaker's approach to both characterization and narrative. Of the films chosen for examination it appeared that a positively portrayed protagonist in combination with a narrative that provided a clear but balanced opinion on the issue addressed was more successful in engaging its audience in a level of social discourse. The ability of the films to engage their respective audiences was based on criteria such as box office success, critical reception, and media and public discussion of the film around the time of its release as well as more recently.

The findings of this investigation arose from the production of a feature length screenplay, The Last of the Wombats, which dealt with the issue of national security.

The screenplay follows the Ruddocks along on their journey from personal insecurity, through issues of perceived threat, to the initial response of increasing the physical security measures around their house. These actions produce more problems than they solve, and this state of imbalance forces the main characters (Amber, Brian and Karen) to address their own insecurities and eventually to move beyond them.

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ID Code: 15926
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Glover, Stuart & Lee, Gerard
Keywords: Protagonist, Social Comedy, Australian Film, Characterization, Narrative
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Mark Enders
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:53
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:40

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