Exploring Australian Cinema And Peter Weir Film Studies Essay

November 12, 2017 Film Studies

Peter Weir is one of the Australian movie managers who have successfully illustrated their ain alone single manners in filmmaking ( Haltof xiv ) . Following the Australian movie tradition, which largely deals with the struggles and clangs between savageness and civilisation, Weir ‘s plants maintain the Australian traditional ocular and thematic integrity ( 129 ) . His success theodolites from short having movie Michael ( 1970 ) to full-length featuring movie The Cars That Ate Paris ( 1974 ) , so to major international discovery movie Picnic at Hanging Rock ( 1975 ) and eventually to his American filmmaking such as Witness ( 1985 ) or international movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World ( 2003 ) . He manages to set up a typical topographic point for himself in international filmmaking ( Bliss 1 ) , while he contributes much to the Australian New Wave film every bit good. This instance survey will look at Weir ‘s calling from the 1970s to the 1990s in footings of thematic preoccupations.

Australian film has a long history following back to 1906, when The Story of the Kelly Gang was likely the longest narrative movie in the universe. The movie industry experienced the ‘boom and flop ‘ for the following 60 old ages or so. Until the epoch of the Australian New Wave ( besides known as the “ Australian Film Revival ” and the “ Australian Film Renaissance ” ) throughout 1970s to mid-late 1980s, about four 100 characteristic movies were made in Australia ( McFarlane 36 ) . Equally good as the “ Ozploitation ” manner, that is within the Australian New Wave.

Weir joined Channel seven in 1967 as a stage technician and stated to bring forth recreational reviews. He produced his first short movie Count Vin ‘s Last Exercise in the same twelvemonth, a fifteen-minute upbeat comedy intended as a bogus authorities propaganda movie. The undermentioned twelvemonth he made his 2nd short movie, a lampoon of spiritual cults, The Life and Flight of the Rev, Buck Shotte, about an bizarre American sermonizer and his new faith. The movie was accepted for testing at the 1969 Sydney Film Festival. Weir ‘s success came with his short movie Michael ( 1970 ) , which won him an award from the Australian Film Institute ( AFI ) .

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There is a sense of black temper in Weir ‘s early movies. This could be seen from the first full-length characteristic debut The Cars That Ate Paris. The movie was funded by the Australian Film Development Corporation ‘s ( AFDC ) regular investing. Cars was considered to be black comedy or Australian Gothic because it creates a upseting bloodcurdling ambiance ( Haltof 12 ) . The narrative is set in a fictional town called Paris, the occupants at that place involved in gaining from the consequences of auto accidents. Weir and his manufacturers Hal and Jim McElory dressed up the Volkswagen with fictile spikes. The movie was shot largely in a rural town in the New South Wales. Cars did non make good commercially at place or abroad, and the American distributer pulled out after 18 months of dialogue. However, it anticipates Weir ‘s following three movies: Field day at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave and the telecasting characteristic The Plumber ( 1978 ) ( Rayner 79 ) .

Field day at Hanging Rock was the turning point for Weir ‘s calling. The movie was among the most successful Australian movies of the 1970s ( Haltof 23 ) . It was shown in several states including the United States. Based on Joan Lindsay ‘s novel about a party of misss vanishing on the eponymic stone, the movie presented two basic images: Hanging Rock and Appleyard College, two monoliths set down incongruously in the Australian shrub ( McFarlane 72 ) . Picnic features the outstandingly rich and varied word picture of the Australian landscape, supplying some of the most facile ocular statements about the physical nature of Australia and its dealingss to adult male ‘s topographic point in the continent. Although many inquiries are raised in the movie, no account is being given. However, in the movie, Weir did take up inquiries raised or signalled by Lindsay. The major subject is the European ( British ) invasion into an foreign environment. The interlopers either are rejected or defeated ( Haltof 24 ) . Nevertheless, Picnic takes topographic point at the beginning of the century, one twelvemonth before the declaration of an independent Australia ( 1901 ) . Therefore, it is besides a movie about the terminal of the ‘old universe ‘ , and the decomposition of Victorian society ( Haltof 27 ) .

Following the success of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Weir ‘s following characteristic movie, The Last Wave became a more ambitious production, with a budget twice that of Picnic. It is besides the first movie to be released in the United States. Due to the commercial failure of The Cars That Ate Paris, manufacturers had to seek the widest possible audience for The Last Wave, and to understate its cultural specificity ( Rayer 75 ) . The movie gives a image of the insightful division between the white and Aboriginal civilizations by continuously contrasting them ( Haltof 40 ) , demoing the tremendous cultural spread between the two civilizations. The movie draws on the same conventional images of Aboriginal people that could be found in many of the New Australian movies. Like Picnic, it is a movie with a rare sense of enigma ( Haltof 49 ) . Both movies contain a loose narrative line, but seemingly, they both have a coherent inner logic.

Gallipoli ( 1981 ) was Weir ‘s “ graduation movie ” . It is one of the chef-d’oeuvres in Australian film and historical Australian movie. This is the point where Weir turns towards professionalism and filmic adulthood. As Tom O’Regan remarks that, this movie relights the of import portion in the Australian history ( O’Regan 19 ) . Deal with existent historical events, the movie showed grounds of his hunt for the roots of national individuality in World War I at the conflict of Gallipoli ( Haltof 50 ) . US-based critic Marcia Landy claims it is ‘a remaking of the British ‘art film ‘ authoritative, Tell England ( 1931 ) ( O’Regan 98 ) . This alteration made by Weir signifies a move off from low-budget movies made in his ain state and towards high-budget movies made in the United States. Slightly different from Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave, Gallipoli is a displacement from the cryptic landscape. It is besides one of the first Australian movies to have mainstream American distribution ( by Paramount ) along with George Miller ‘s Mad Max ( 1979 ) .

To sum up, looking through Peter Weir ‘s movie calling since the 1970s, it is clear that he develops a typical manner of his ain movies. He works within many generic boundary lines, but during Australian period ; his plants do non belong to any definite genre. His plants are inventive and intuitive, yet hopelessly romantic ( Haltof 129 ) .


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