” Australian film is dominated by narratives that feature males and masculinity as the forces of action and meaning. Women and femininity have been located at the margins of this action as either a form of sexualised “other” or as the “stake” in the struggles between men.” (Seminar 5, page 1).
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In this essay I will put this claim to the test by analysing the structure of two Australian films, “On Our Selection” and “Robbery Under Arms”. I will look carefully at the various ways in which these films reproduce Australia’s quest for national identity, through prominent portrayals of masculinity and male orientated films. By delving into how each of the films illustrates, that even today the ideals and values of the bush survive as a powerful endorsement of Australia’s origins as a “bush” nation, bestowed in mythical terms. The uniqueness of Australian films, which seem to employ a particular style and attitude are not seen in mainstream Hollywood flicks, or those from other countries. As Australian film seeks to define an essential Australianness, they tend to adhere closely to a particular template, while slightly varying the ways in which they represent and resolve conflicts and the ways in which they relate to the broader issues of Australian identity and cultural values. The two films will be analysed to show the various ways in which they represent ideas of Australia and Australianness.
The changes in Australian national identity are indebted to the reconciliation of the struggles between different groups and classes as they respond to the volatile forces and processes of change. Films are a product of these forces and as national identity is continually being fractured, questioned and redefined they represent these forces in various ways. On the one hand the film “On Our Selection” is significant to the struggle between the squatters and the selectors in the early 1930’s. .
National identity is represented in the original “Aussie Battler” sense corresponding to an imperative period of Australian history.