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The Aboriginal voice and the left-leaning 'Australia' (Baz Luhrmann, 2008)

Starrs, D. Bruno (2012) The Aboriginal voice and the left-leaning 'Australia' (Baz Luhrmann, 2008). Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26(4), pp. 625-636.

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Abstract

Arguing that Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" (2008) is a big-budget, non-independent film espousing a left-leaning political ideology in its non-racist representations of Aborigines on film, this paper suggests the addition of a 'fourth formation' to the 1984 Moore and Muecke model is warranted. According to their theorising, racist "first formation" films promote policies of assimilation whereas "second formation" films avoid overt political statements in favour of more acceptable multicultural liberalism. Moore and Muecke's seemingly ultimate "third formation films", however, blatantly foreground the director's leftist political dogma in a necessarily low budget, independent production. "Australia", on the other hand, is an advance on the third formation because its feminised Aboriginal voice is safely backed by a colossal production budget and indicates a transformation in public perceptions of Aboriginal issues. Furthermore, this paper argues that the use of low-cost post-production techniques such as voice-over narration by racially appropriate individuals and the use of diegetic song in Australia work to ensure the positive reception of the left-leaning message regarding the Stolen Generations. With these devices Luhrmann effectively counters the claims of right-wing denialists such as Andrew Bolt and Keith Windschuttle.

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ID Code: 43359
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Baz Luhrmann's "Australia", Film representations of Aborigines, Catriona Moore, Stephen Muecke, Australian film
DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2012.630144
ISSN: 1469-3666
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Cinema Studies (190201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies (200201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Screen and Media Culture (200212)
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 19 Jul 2011 08:36
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2012 16:32

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