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With films such as Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert finding recent success in American theaters, Australian cinema has never been as popular in North America as it is today. This new study argues that post-1970 Australian film is best described not as exhibiting phenomenal variety but as focused on a conception of heroism characterized by the love of freedom, the resentment of authority, and attachment to the land, along with anti-intellectualism, fatalism, and occasional sexism. Tracing these themes through one hundred films, Scheckels explores the ways in which they are reflected through depictions of men, women, aboriginals, and youth, with each demographic group posing its own unique generic and cultural questions.
Including films both elite and popular, excellent and flawed, Celluloid Heroes Down Under offers film-by-film discussions in seven chapters, making the volume both a highly readable study of a particular cinema and superb reference guide for its readers. Unlike previous studies of the nation's film output, Sheckels's work presents its subject not as a miscellaneous collection but as a focused endeavor, a cohesive and undervalued component of world cinema.
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About the Author
THEODORE F. SHECKELS is Professor of English and Communication at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He is the author of many books, including The Lion on the Freeway: A Thematic Introduction to Contemporary South African Literature in English (1996) and When Congress Debates: A Bakhtinian Paradigm (Praeger, 2000).
Table of Contents
Australian Film, 1970-2000
The Hero of Old
The Revised Hero
A Woman's Role
The Aborigines' Role
Youth-The Basis for Heroism to Come
Playing with the Concept
Appendix: The People Behind Australian Film