OZPLOTATION

Local production in the 1960s was seen as uninspired, barely existent and pathetic. The industry was generally unadventurous. There was lack of energy and fear of cinematic expression. Ozploitation films appeared to satisfy a call for more interesting way to represent Australians on screen. One other factor which was responsible for the type of films being made in Australia at this time was the introduction of the R rating. The Australian R rating restricted access to only audience members over the age of 18 years. This created a market that many Australian filmmakers were eager to supply to. In particular, this led to an increase in Sexploitation films to capitalize on the innovation of the R rating. Exploitation cinema is constructed from the so-called trash culture. They often have superficial storylines and are considered as cheap production values. Exploitation cinema broadly applies to film whose purpose is to shock audience through sex, violence and nudity. Ozploitation films are simply an Australian genre films. These films exploit Australian stereotypes and aspects of Australian culture to attain audiences within Australia and possibly overseas. Ozploitation films are said to be distinctly Australian. Common sub-genres include sexploitation, ocker films (for ex: Alvin Purple, Pacific Banana), or killers and outback horror films (for ex: Patrick, Long Weekend), and action/Biker/Kung Fu films (such as: Stone, The Man from Hong Kong). These films are made with little quality or artistic concentration, but focus on quick profit via promotion techniques emphasizing on sensational aspects of the product. Although, Ozploitation films were said to be distinctly exploiting Australian culture, many criticisms claim that these films should not be celebrated as Australian national cinema. First of all it is believed that the commercial prospects of a product are always inversely conflicting with its claims to cultural value because cultural values are opposed to a solely commercial purpose. So Ryan will explain more detail about this controversy between quality and commercial focus. Second argument claims that by being concerned with just commercial entertainment and not culture or quality, those films were simultaneously ‘too Hollywood’ and ‘too vulgarly Australian’ to secure local and international acceptability. Its uncomplimentary images did not portray Australian or Australians in a good light. For example Australians do not want to see themselves as drinking, gambling, and hunting kangaroos as represented by the character John in Wake in Fright. These films are in fact ad advertisement for Australia. These films also involved a strategy of address on the part of the film-makers which predict its audience as the ‘whole of Australia’ where Australia was seen to be not so much as a ‘unified national character’ but ‘diverse publics’. Its insistence on signs of disunity and difference, rather than unity and accord, of crudity and stupidity rather than sensitivity and sophistication, made it at odds with what was expected from Australian films by the mid 1970s On the other hand, there are also numbers of arguments supporting that support Ozploitation cinema. First argument lies in its ability to tell Australian stories to the foreigners in a dynamic and interesting ways. Exploitation films were in fact a challenge of censorship regulation while enabling forms of the culturally ‘unseeable’ to be seen (for ex: sex, violence, nudity, etc), and this was because Australians do not want to be controlled by the government. The exploitation film can be regarded as an active follower utilizing the conditions and effects of filmic conventions, production processes, and ideological messages that dominate an otherwise mainstream cinematic model. They are set against mainstream cinematic discourse ‘trash culture seeks to promote an alternative vision of cinematic art, aggressively attacking the established principle of ‘quality’ cinema’. The ‘badness’ in these texts can be defined as a type of openness of performance. Exploitation films allow for diverse film-making styles. Flaws, misconceptions, blinkers, differences, imitation, evil are part of any cinema, of any art, of any identity These films suggest an ideal of a less principled criticism and film-making demeanors as a goal in Australian film-making and criticism. A dull and bad film may have as much to tell us as the worthy one. Film criticisms should set aside its notions as to what constituted a ‘well made’ film but should rather focus on the connectivity between the film and its audience. For example, those scenes that were evidenced of poor scripting were also those appreciated and identified by audiences as what they liked about the film. Identifying the film as a commercial film as a final shaper and clue to its meaning did not help either, because judging exploitation films based on this ground is no more than encouraging us to ‘see it as imitative in a bad sense, dismiss it as if it had no significant structures, and regard its commercial success as an attack. . Exploitation cinema was recognized as sarcasm of high cultural values in which they represent normal everyday lives of Australian (for ex. they gave authority for Lesbian relationships which were illegal at that time), and much of the pleasure of the exploitation film may be well precisely placed in these images The Ozploitation period ended in 1980s. While recent Aussie films are often dramas and/or crime films and not much in the way of wild genre films are made, recent trends in horror cinema have given light to their potential resurgence in Australian cinema

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