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Filmic eco-warnings and television: Rolf de Heer's "Epsilon" (1995) and "Dr. Plonk" (2007)

Starrs, D. Bruno (2007) Filmic eco-warnings and television: Rolf de Heer's "Epsilon" (1995) and "Dr. Plonk" (2007). Forum: The University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts, Autumn(5).

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Abstract

The possibility is considered that Australian film-maker Rolf de Heer has followed Epsilon (1995) with another filmic eco-warning, Dr. Plonk (2007), in which, as Mark J. Lacy despairs, heroic "dynamic individuals" unhelpfully "reinforce a (neo)liberal imaginary" (2001: 636), thus obliging Judith Hess Wright's allegation that genre films maintain the social status quo by offering "absurd solutions to economic and social conflicts" (2003: 42). But rather than 'shouting' the message that a messianic hero-figure can save the world as in his first eco-politically correct film, it is argued that de Heer has subsequently made a silent film in which the saviour fails: the eponymous Dr. Plonk is imprisoned and makes a subtle, unspoken plea to the audience to get out from in front of their television sets and save the world from ecological apocalypse themselves. De Heer has expressed considerable disdain towards television but this paper suggests that to maximise reception of their eco-warnings the eco-conscious film-maker needs to recognise the potential of interactive television and other new media technologies to increase voter turnout and to effect the aversion of global apocalypse through audiences taking individual responsibility.

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ID Code: 8877
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Rolf de Heer, Epsilon, Dr, Plonk, eco, warning, television
ISSN: 1749-9771
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Film and Television (190204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Interactive Media (190205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Screen and Media Culture (200212)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Cinema Studies (190201)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 D. Bruno Starrs
Deposited On: 26 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2010 11:31

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