National Cinema

GALLIPOLI (1981): An example of Australian National Cinema

The period of 1970s – 1980s was perceived as a ‘golden age’ of Australian film industry (Darrenarcher n.d.). Government support for national film industry which resulted in the establishments of different State’s Film Commission enabled the explosion of many films that celebrated the national identity.  The notion of ‘National Cinema’ thus emerged and led to the revival of this sector. This concept often involves the ideas of representing the nation to its citizens. Its intention is to communicate what constitutes national identity, and to differentiate ‘authentically’ Australian films from the aggressive spread of the dominated British and American industry. Finding the right national identity was a challenging process. To qualify as a representation of Australian National Cinema, the film must contain certain elements that present some senses of unique ‘Australian-ness’. In economic terms, a ‘national cinema’ is concerned with the film’s production. Such issues would comprise the place where the film was made, the nationalities of the residential status of leading creative inputs, the source of finance of the film, etc (Higson, 1989).  More crucial requirement must lie in the subject-matter of film. Here the key questions would become: what is this film about? Is it celebrating any Australian values or relating to any particular national history? The movie ‘Gallipoli’ (1981) is used as a reference to examine how the above characteristics intertwined to construct the notion of ‘National Cinema’

Firstly, it was the production that makes ‘Gallipoli’ to carry a sense of ‘National Cinema’. Together with the fact that the movie was shot primarily in South Australia, most of its leading creative inputs have connections with Australia. The film was directed by Peter Weir – an Australian film director. His knowledge obtained from Australia’s education system, previous work experience in Australian film industry should certainly leave his movies some Australian tastes.  ‘Gallipoli’ was considered as his second hit in Australia after a major breakthrough of ‘Picnic of Hanging Rock’ in 1975.  One of the main characters in ‘Gallipoli; (i.e. Archy Hamilton) was played by Mark Lee who is also an Australian actor and director. Though Mel Gibson who played the role of Frank Dunne is now an American star, he had been living in Sydney and studying at Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. The movie’s screenplay and music were also composed by Australian artists – David Williamson and Brian May. In addition, the movie’s funding source was also from Australia. Gallipoli had the highest budget of an Australian film. The film was originally funded by the South Australian Film Corporation and then Rupert Murdoch’s production company. Because all of the input elements have Australia’s involvement, they make the movie to be proudly called an Australian product. It is thus partly proved that ‘Gallipoli’ can be seen as a ‘National Cinema’.

Nevertheless, it would be overstating its national status if the film’s content is overlooked. The film follows the major motif of Australian movies – celebrating victory in defeat (Darrenarcher n.d.). As the name suggests, Gallipoli celebrates the country’s dominant myth – the ANZAC legend. It is the key foundational native in terms of national identity. The Gallipoli battle remarks the moment of birth of the nationhood for Australia. The sentence ‘If we don’t stop them, they would end up here’ spoken by the character Archy confirms Australia’s purpose in the war. It declares that Australian soldiers were fighting and scarified themselves to protect their country, and not following the British blindly. Thus, the movie shows the world strong national character of Australia. The film deploys humor on British soldiers as it gives an ‘intentional slur’ on them (Freeburry, 1987). A ‘selfish’ characteristic of British soldiers is portrayed when a British commander completely disregards all advice from the front, insisted that the attack must continue so that the British can land safely (Convictcreation.com, n.d.). The movie is a discourse of anti-colonialism, and promoting a break-out from its ‘motherhood’ relationship with Britain. Beside, national identity is also realized through the sporting culture – a favorite image for Australians. There are several running competitions across the movie’s theme. In every competition, there is always a spirit of fair-play which Australian is always proud of. This is presented by the statement of Archy before he is running to compete with the horse “Bare foot, bare back”. ‘Gallipoli’ is thus a celebration of intrinsically Australian value (Freebury, 1987). Mateship is also part of that celebration. The idea of mateship has become essential in the Australian cinema (Darrenarcher n.d.). Archy and Frank have shown the importance of this mateship in war time to survive in the hostile environment. Mateship is not unique to Australia, but it became crucial in early colonial times because the difficult environment required the joining together for survival. The movie also shows dominant Australian images through the appearance of two typical Australian stereotypes. Arch is the bushman – the ‘pure’ Australian and Frank is the urban Australian – the ‘larrikins’. According to Rattigan (1991), the two images are ‘mythical representatives’ of Australian identity – bush and city. The outback landscape is also exploited to create the unique ‘Australia-ness’. As Freebury pointed out that ‘the landscape is the basis for national status, the scenes of endless desserts in Western Australia represents the motif for the heartland. For Australia, the outback has become a recognizable national symbol to be filmed because landscape can reflect a nation’s heritage and identity.

Though Gallipoli is proudly celebrating various Australian values, the movie is also challenged by number of criticisms. The major dispute lies in its historical accuracy. The movie is criticized for unfairly portraying the British during the battle. The mentioned attack which caused many Australian deaths was in fact a diversion for the New Zealander’s attack, and not for the British landing (Freebury, 1987). Thus the blame of Australian soldiers sacrificed for British benefit was partly incorrect. This critic has caused much confusion when being watched by Britain’s audience. Rather a factual recount of historical events, Gallipoli is only telling a story of national myths. The question of to what degree the importance of historical accuracy should be emphasized in Australian National Cinema is confronted. Movies that aims to identify national idenity should avoid the bias approach as in ‘Gallipoli’. Otherwise, it may cause negative responds from foreign audience, and thus against its initial purpose of introducing the nation’s uniqueness on both national and international level. Therefore, to represent as a ‘National Cinema’, movies should place more balance on celebrating Australian values while maintaining the genuineness of history.

Gallipoli was received with almost positive responds in Australia. The Australians see themselves in Gallipoli. Disregard of major critics for its historical accuracy and negative perception in foreign culture, the movie has manipulated audience’s emotions with the powerful national symbols (Freebury 1987). However the notion of ‘Australian National Cinema’ is not restricted within the elements that were presented in ‘Gallipoli’. More references must be further examined to enrich the list of National Cinema’s discourses. This is because there is no limit of components to identify the national ideology.

References

A.Higgson 1989, The Concept of National Cinema, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://screen.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/4/36.extract>

Australian Fim n.d., accessed 21 March 2011, <http://darrenarcher.name/ftv/PDF%27s/Australian%20Film.pdf>

Beeton, Sue. Landscapes as Characters: Film, Tourism and a Sense of Place [online]. Metro Magazine: Media & Education Magazine, No. 166, 2010: 114-118. Availability:http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=410690301116007;res=IELHSSISSN: 0312-2654. [cited 21 Mar 11].

Conviccreations.com n.d., Gallipoli, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/ref_elec1.html#elec5>

Gallipoli, Neil Rattigan, Images of Australia (1991) SMU Press 135-8

Film Reference n.d., National Cinema, Political Economy, and Ideology, accessed 21 March 2011, < http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Independent-Film-Road-Movies/National-Cinema-NATIONAL-CINEMA-POLITICAL-ECONOMY-AND-IDEOLOGY.html>

Jane Freeburry (1987) ‘Screening Australia: ‘Gallipoli – a study of nationalism on film’,Media Information Australia

J.Smith 1997, OZ Cinema: Your guide to Australian film, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://www.ozcinema.com/reviews/g/gallipoli.html>

Wikipedia 2011, Gallipoli (film 1981), accessed 21 March 2011, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_%281981_film%29>

Wikipedia 2011, Peter Weir, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Weir>

Wikipedia 2011, Mark Gibson, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Gibson>

Wikipedia 2011, Mark Lee, accessed 21 March 2011, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Lee_%28actor%29>

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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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Australia (Lurhmann, 2008)

In 2008, the release of Australia (Luhrman, 2008) marked a return of Australian historical romance genre movie on screen. Throughout the adventure of three main characters Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), the Drover (Hugh Jackman) and the half-casted Aboriginal boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), the film recounts highlighted events in Northern Australia in the period from 1939 to 1942. Australia (Luhrman, 2008) revisits the heroic period of Australian cinema in the 1970s and 80s in which common themes were exploring debating issues such as “the relationship of white Australians to this mysterious new land, guilt over the treatment of dispossessed natives, the burden of cultural inferiority and the shaping of a national identity” (French, 2008). In particular, the scenes of a journey to transfer two-thounsand cattle across the outback to Darwin which is captured from 50th minute to 83rd minute of the movie profoundly illustrate the combination of major concepts in Australian films. Those concepts include the landscape theory, the bush legend, the notion of masculinity, and the representation of indigenous Australian.  This article aims to analyze how the above concepts intertwine in this thirty-three-minute sequence, and how this sequence is criticized to be overly Americanized and poor scripted.

Throughout this sequence, it is the endless deserts that make unforgettable images. According to Frediric and Brussat’s film review (n.d.), Baz Luhrmann has made a fascinating movie which celebrates the awesome landscape of his homeland. Following a common motif of landscape theory, Australia’s mainland is represented as extremely harsh condition. Although this challenging nature can be half-tamed by humans which is demonstrated by the ability of Nullah to stop the going-wild’ cattle heading towards the edge and the Aboriginal old man’s song to guide them to cross over the Never Never, the land is yet “ultimately untamable” and “never allows human dominance” (Gibson 1993, p.212) which is told by Nullah that “everyday drier, harder … and big dust”, and the images of empty continent with bare population. In the same article, Gibson (1993, p.215) also recognizes that these images are a sign of Australia as the author states that “It has been transmuted into an element of myth, into a sign of supra-social Australian-ness’. Furthermore, the character Nullah once affirms that ‘the places got the spirit’, and it is this spiritual land that creates the uniqueness of Australian representation. The image of the character King George sitting on the cliff at night, and singing the natives’ song reminds the audience of the Dreamtime which is distinctive Australian culture. Other popular images are also presented through the beautiful blue sea, the kangaroo as iconic demonstrations of Australia’s nature. Therefore it can be concluded that in this short sequence, the land is installed as the country. The landscape theory has been effectively exploited to promote classic Australian images and to generate a typical impression of Australian-ness.

Masculinity is other concept that can also be depicted throughout this sequence. According the Mc Farlane’s description (1987, p.61), The Drover represent typical images of Australian males. With his implied leading role in this voyage, the Drover character is portrayed as physically tough and adaptable with this hard condition as interpreted above.  In both competitions which are to control the cattle falling off the edge, and to load them onto the ship before their competitor, he is also seen as a very brave and quick responding man. Masculinity is further presented in the drinking scenes in the pub and the separation of ‘ladies lounge’ to create a purely ‘male’ atmosphere. However, unlike other traditional Australian films in which women is considered as the “peripheral” (McFarlane 1987, p.62), the role of Lady Sarah Ashley in this sequence of the movie is in fact a leading role, and as important as the men’s one. This is evidenced when the Drover explicitly declares at the beginning of the sequence that “everyone does exactly what she told”, and the approval of the other men for her to stay in the same lounge with them. It is also implied throughout the journey that Lady Ashley equally shares the leading position with the Drover and outweigh other male characters in their voyage.  The sequence reveals the perception that female can now be recognized as a hero which is rarely experienced in previous films. Therefore, this sequence simultaneously celebrates the notion of masculinity as well as introduces new role of women in Australian films. This development is coherent with the increasing participation of women in social activities and the encouragement of gender’s equality in recent years. This notion is also agreed by Simpson (1999, p.24) that the increasing numbers of women in the industry have reallocated the cinema’s focus away from those traditional masculine sceneries. The portrait of Lady Sarah Ashley in this sequence may revolutionize a brand-new concept of for future filmmakers in positing female characters in later Australian films.

The sequence illustrates the changing discourses about Indigenous Australian. Firstly, it promotes multiculturalism as government policy abandoned the assimilations’ approaches in the past (Darrenarcher, n.d.) There are images of people from different ethnics’ background (i.e. British, Anglo-Australians, Aboriginals, Asian) joining together in the same adventure.  The existence of Aboriginals’ culture (i.e. the Black magic spirit) is recognized rather than previously ignored because “Aboriginal people had no eugenicist theory, no need to theorize a racial superiority to justify exploitation or land theft” (Langton 1993, p.28-29). King George follows every footsteps of the team throughout their voyage. The audience can feel his importance in every hardship they face. It is the Aboriginal song that leads them to cross over the Never Never. He challenges the idea of the “lurking savage” which was popular in most of colonial literature. As the ritual leader, he represents the power of Aboriginal religion and culture (Langton 2008). Furthermore, Nullah’s knowledge of the importance of storytelling creates a sense of belonging and the meaning of the Aboriginal dreamtime, a spiritual perspective that declares the land is sung into existence (Frederic and Brussat, n.d.).

The sequence also attracts many criticisms. Firstly, it was the storyline to be attacked for being too ‘Americanized’. The adventure to transfer the cattle across the outback with the team of children and drunken men has a similar logic of other famous Hollywood film – an Indiana Jones travelogue (Christopher 2008). Secondly, the romantic scene between the Drover and Lady Ashley comes suddenly and is not set appropriately with the harsh condition. Their sudden love does not relate to any of the previous nor later scenes in the sequence. It’s billed as a love story, but it will be soon realized that the love story isn’t the film’s true intention. The construction of the character King George is also critised. The unrealistic appearance of King George is claimed that he has nothing better to do than to hang around, performing some rituals and singing, living on nothing but air (Greer 2008). In attempting to depict so many topics in a short sequence (i.e. the love story, the cruel competition in beef industry,  the culture of Aboriginals, the landscape of Australia etc), this over ambition has resulted in the poorly structured scripts for some characters.

In conclusion, during a short sequence that depicts the journey of the crew to transfer 2000 cattle from the Faraway Downs to Darwin, major concepts of Australian films (i.e. the landscape theory, the notion of masculinity, and the representation of indigenous Australian) are exploited. Beside the demonstration of those components, it is also a revolution which introduces new role of women in Australian movies. Therefore, despite few minor critics for poorly scripted scenes, this sequence is the most attractive moment throughout the film Australia (Luhrmann, 2008)

Bibliography

Australian Fim n.d., accessed 21 March 2011, <http://darrenarcher.name/ftv/PDF%27s/Australian%20Film.pdf>

Brian McFarlane, “Ch.4: Mates and Others in a Wide Brown Land: Images of Australia” in McFarlane, Australian Cinema 1970 – 1985 (Melbourne: Heinemann, 1987), 47 – 69

Catherine Simpson (1999) ‘Suburban Subventions: Women’s Negotiation of Space in Contemporary Australian Cinema’, in Metro Megazine #118, 24 – 32

French, P. 2008, Guardian.co.uk, accessed 25 April 2011, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/dec/28/australia-review>

Frederic and M. Brussat n.d., Spirituality & Practice, accessed 25 April 2011 <http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/films.php?id=18599>

Germaine Greer 2008, Guardian.co.uk, accessed 25 April 2011 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/dec/16/baz-luhrmann-australia>

James Christopher 2008, The Times, accessed 25 April 2011 <http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article5389109.ece>

Marcia Langton, “Section Two: The Politics of Aboriginal Representation,” in Langton,“Well I Heard It On The Radio and I Saw It On the Television …” An essay from the Australian Film Commission (Sydney: AFC, 1993)

Marcia Langton 2008, The Age, accessed 25 April 2011, <http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/11/23/1227375027931.html>

Ross Gibson, ‘Camera Natura: Landscape in Australian Feature Films’ in John Frow and Meaghan Morris, eds., Australian Cultural Studies (St. Leonard’s: Allen & Unwin, 1993), 209 – 211

Filmography

Australia (Luhrmann 2008)

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Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) vs. The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979)

War movie is one of the most popular genres for Australian filmmakers. Those movies are not served as a recount historical event, but also a visual description of Australian soldier’s images in different war battles. This comparative analysis aims to contrast the diverse techniques used by two movies to deploy the same theme of war. Although the two Australian war-genre films – Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) and The Odd Angry Shot(Jeffrey 1979) – were located in different time period, there are overlapping concepts in describing of Australia’s involvement in both World War I and Vietnam War. Thus, it is essential to move beyond to exploit how those concepts coincide in both movies.

Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) tells the story of Australian miners who were members of the first Australian Tunneling Company to mine under a German bunker and discharge anexplosive charge to aid the advance of British troops in World War I. The majority of the movie is devoted in screening the hardship Woodward (Brendan Cowell)’s team in implementing their plan to trespass the German’s military base. The film celebrates these Australian mining engineers as heroic and intelligent soldiers who make important contribution to the Allies’ victory in that battle.   On the other hand, The Odd Angry Shot(Jeffrey 1979) follows the experience of Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The movie merely focus on the experiences of the soldiers away from the battle field, spending the bulk of their time gambling, smoking, drinking beer, making jokes about masturbationand having some competitions with the American forces. There is no clear indication of the outcome in any battles that Australian soldiers involve. In fact, the character Harry (Graham Kennedy) once affirms that “There is no good by being here … because we can’t win”. There are contradictory images of Australian soldiers sketched out in two movies. While Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) praises them as heroes, Australia’s involvement in Vietnam War in the later film is perceived as an embarrassment when returning home. The concept of masculinity is therefore shown differently in two movies. Beneath Hill 60(Sims 2010) emphasizes images Australian male as tough, brave, clever, adaptive. Mateship is also a part of masculinity through the protecting between men, and helping injured soldiers scenes. Oppositely, by using similar motif in the movie Wake in FrightThe Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979) mostly employs beer-drinking scenes – especially Forster beer – to capture a snapshot of Aussie men (i.e. alcohol addicted). Thus, although Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) and The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979) share a related topic about war, the later film can be considered as exploitation film of Australian culture – i.e. Ozploitation film – while uses war as an underpinning theme. There are nudity, violence, sexploitation moments presented in The Odd Angry Shot film, whereas these scenes can hardly be found in the film Beneath Hill 60.  In this light, Benneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) is regarded as a mainstream film and The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979) contradictorily exposes the ‘ground rules’ that are built the previous mainstream cinematic model (Laseur 1990).

Apart from the opposing images as outlined above, two movies also share number of similar settings. Firstly, it is a coincident in depicting the landscape. Instead of concentrating in screening traditional landscape at home as in other Australian feature films (i.e. endless deserts, mythical land etc) to create a unique Australian-ness, these movies mainly capture difficult conditions in hostile countries. The landscape is purposefully depicted as harsh to emphasize the challenges that Australian soldiers face. Although the location is set differently such as Missini Ridge in Belgium in Beneath Hill 60(Sims 2010) and a jungle in South Vietnam in The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979), there are a common scenes of muddy, wet soil, unexpected rains across the two movies. Gibson’s (1993, p.247) notion of ‘terror in the bush’ revisits in The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979) as the tropical forest is presented as dark with sudden danger may happen any time.  Most of the film Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) takes place in trenches and tunnels. This gives the audience a sense of the claustrophobia and boredom of the soldiers’ lives (UNSW: OZ Cinema + TV, n.d.). However, whenever the two movies screen the landscape at home, Australia always appears beautifully with blue sea and green bush views. This purposefully depicts the idea that home country is always a safest, warmest place to welcome the soldiers’ return, thus a sense of belonging is created. Furthermore, two movies recognize Australian national identity is through the sporting culture – a favorite image for many Australians. Rugby is played in Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) while volleyball is played inThe Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979). Further similarity between two movies is the ignorance of women’s role. Woodward’s sweetheart in Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) only appears in his flashback when he was still in Queensland. Similarly, Bill’s girlfriend is rarely mentioned except at the beginning and when he receives the only letter from her in nine-months away from home. Bill’s girlfriend is portrayed as badly as not embarrassing of sex, and no loyalty. No woman distracts attention from the main male characters in both movies. Australian women are mostly standing and waiting, serving their “myth-making masters”. These films reinforce the idea of Australia as a man’s country (McFarlane 1987, p.52). Also, representations of the country’s Aboriginal population in both movies are neglected. Only White Australian men are recognized as Australian representatives in two movies. This invisibility of indigenous Australian also tells audience a ‘dark’ period in Australian history.  It is a negative notion of racism as if Aboriginals have no role in Australian society during the time the movies are set.  No Aboriginals could join the army simply because they were not seen as Australian thus could not participate in any political issues. It has been hard to locate Aboriginies in any themes of the two movies (Langton 1993, p.24), thus disallowance of their images at all would be an easier solution.

In conclusion, although some films, such as Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010) and The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979), are all Australian war-genre films, there are diverse methods in exploiting this theme. The former follows a mainstream cinematic model, whereas the later is heading towards ‘Ozploitation’ cinema. This leads to differences representation of several concepts in two movies. Despite there are number of repetitive motifs across these movies, film criticisms should closely analyze individual film based on its own story, and avoid a uncritical stereotypes such as ‘Australian war movies always celebrate Australian soldiers as country heroes’. These affirmations are not always true, thus care should be taken.

Bibliography

Brian McFarlane, “Ch.4: Mates and Others in a Wide Brown Land: Images of Australia” in McFarlane, Australian Cinema 1970 – 1985 (Melbourne: Heinemann, 1987), 47 – 69

Carol Laseur (1990) Australian exploitation film: the politics of bad taste’, in Adrian Martin, ed., Continum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, vol.5 no 2

Dave Palmer and Garry Gillard, ‘Aboriginies, Ambivalence and Australian Film’, Metro Magazine (No.134), 128 – 134

Marcia Langton, “Section Two: The Politics of Aboriginal Representation,” in Langton,“Well I Heard It On The Radio and I Saw It On the Television …” An essay from the Australian Film Commission (Sydney: AFC, 1993)

Meaghan Morris (2004) ‘Beyond Assimilation: Aboriginality, Media History and Public Memory’ in Rouge, No.3

Meaghan Morris, “White panic or Mad Max and the Sublime” in Kuan-Hsing Chen, ed.,Trajectories: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1998), 239 – 262

Ross Gibson, ‘Camera Natura: Landscape in Australian Feature Films’ in John and Meaghan Morris, eds, Australian Cultural Studies (St. Leonard’s: Allen & Unwin, 1993), 2009 – 221

UNSW: Oz Cinema + Television (n.d.), accessed 25 April 2011, <http://ozcinema.weebly.com/reviews.html>

Filmography

Beneath Hill 60 (Sims 2010)

The Odd Angry Shot (Jeffrey 1979)

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PUBLISHING INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION

PUBLISHING INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION

With the current digital revolution, traditional publishing industry has hit its hard times (Cincinati, 2011). Blogger Clay Shirky (2009) similarly affirms that “It makes increasingly less sense to even talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves – the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public – has stopped being a problem”.  The industry’s tragedy was claimed towards the birth of digital and networked media. Digital and network media has thus transformed traditional publishing industry. This essay, on one hand, investigates the impact of e-books (i.e. Kindle, iPad) as modern digital devices that forces out the market of printing industry. Similarly, weblogs, other open publishing sites etc, are argued to distort the vivid category of ‘professional publishers’.  On the other hand, while these contemporary media’s platforms have partially prevailed the mature printing business, their associated disadvantages prevent them from becoming a perfect substitute of traditional publishing industry. Thus it is argued that publishing industry is not being replaced, but rather incorporating with new technology to improve their productivity.

In the past, content was a main focus, not a method of distribution. Publishing industry was very restricted with only involvement of authorized publishers. The modes of distribution and aggregating would be a responsibility of industry or government. Few dominated organizations such as News Ltd, Penguin books, etc maximize the ‘top-down’ approach to control broadcasting platforms. However, these models have been in the process of changes. Main focus for publishing business models tends to be about leveraging distribution and aggregation  and less about producing content as books are not constantly ‘edited’ as they used to since the mid 1990s (Murphie & Fuller 2011). Therefore, the market of publishing industry has been sunken by newly digital and networked media. This notion coincides with media lecturer Jeff Gomez (2008, p.3)’s declaration in ‘Print is dead: books in our digital age’, that “books are indeed on the way out, while screen inching their way in”. Although, books are still around, print is unquestionably appalling. People are turning to computers and Internet as a preferred source of information than traditional reading method. Gomez (2008) then emphasizes that ‘the general population is shifting away from print consumption, heading instead to increasingly digital lives”. Evidence is shown in the ‘Digital Natives’ kids who have grown up with Internet and been interacting with the world through mouse clicks. Print media such as books, magazines, newspaper would be their last resources. Google searching is more preferred than going to library, and print seems more expensive, uninteresting and time-consuming (Gomez 2008, p.4). Consequently, printed materials are less consumed. In ‘Newspaper Printing or Publishing in Australia – Industry Market Research Report’, revenue of the Australian Newspaper Publishing Industry is forecasted to decrease at an average annualized real rate of 3.7% in the five years through 2009-10.  The declining trend of the printed newspapers’ circulation is also confirmed as most of news proliferates and their advertising is migrated to internet. Especially, this is a tragedy of book printing business. The author of ‘Publishing in Hard Times’ article, Peter Jovanovich (2009), states that sales are stagnated or decreasing in most parts of trade, scientific, technical and medical, and school publishing. Books that can’t be sold will be returned to the publishers and get destroyed. This problem has been haunting the publishing business (Neary 2010). Therefore, within few years, digital and networked media have taken away substantial market share of traditional publishing industry in the competition to make information available to the public.

E-books are most recognizable illustration to answer a question of how those powerful devices can dismantle a well-established industry in a short-time period. The launch of e-books serves as a ‘wake-up’ call for the print publishing industry (Naughton 2010). This revolution is happening with fast pace. Within less than three years, it was the traditional e-books which only transfer the texts from normal print to a digital device, then enhanced e-books (i.e. iPads) which embed videos and other animated interfaces, and applications for books are released. Now, there are number of different enhanced readers available (Neary 2010). It is an exploding market that directly competes with traditional prints. The convenience of those digital devices largely improves users’ readership. While readers may postpone the acquisition of some books due to various obstacles in their purchasing process, buying a digital version of same information is often unchallenged with e-readers (Osnos 2010). This handiness is highlighted in many journalists’ argument towards e-books, such that of Naughton (2010) “it is easier and more pleasant to read on iPad than its printed counterpart and much nicer than the Kindle edition of magazine. The iPad has delivered a genuinely ‘immersive’ reading experience”. E-books also simplify the editing process for many authors when making information public because Kindles allow them to convert and format their stories and books themselves to ensure e-format is available for their versions (Steve 2010).  These advantages of e-Books are understandable reasons of the increasing their preference over printed editions.

Weblogs, and open publishing sites are other cases that make the “difficulty, complexity and expense of making something available to the public’ become unproblematic. Networked media has diminished the role of traditional publishers through the blurring categories between authors and readers. This is followed by a quoted from Jovanovich (2009, p.70) “The future is ‘frictionless publishing, seamlessly connecting author and reader … The existential question for publishers is whether or not they are needed in an Internet era.”. Journalists have been questioning whether there will always be publishers (Naughton 2010). Networked platforms that run open publishing software allow any one with Internet access to visit the site and upload content directly without penetrating the filters of traditional media.  Since anyone can publish from these freely accessible sites, we can simultaneously perform several roles of authors, publishers and readers. In addition, Meredith Nelson (2006, p.6)’s article ‘The Blog Phenomenon and The Book Publishing Industry’ indicates that weblogs are new method for outsiders who often face barriers of entry to traditional publishing world due to lack of connections to participate in this sector. Moreover, the importance of publishing industry is further devalued since these networked media enable the possibility for readers to self-assemble their selected material in an individually designed publication. Media theorist Sandra E. Moriarty (1983, p.16) points out in ‘New Technology: A review’s of What’s up, What’s in and What’s out’ that “when every home and business is equipped with its all-purpose multi-function computer terminal with screen and printer, newspaper and magazines stories, etc can be transmitted directly to the home for either electronic viewing or printed reading”. Therefore, networked media enables direct interaction between authors and audiences thus ‘de-intermediate’ involvement of expensive publishing industry.

Although there are range of benefits offered digital and networked media hat may dismantle share of traditional publishing industry, there are still disadvantages that prevent these new technology to completely outrage its original competitor.  Economists may perceive Apple’s absolute control of the media’s distribution as dangerously monopolistic power in the industry. Apple’s dominated position in the consumption of music and mobile software through its iTunes’ application limit developers in creation for media’s devices. If Apple continues to dominate book distribution through iPads, independent writers and their content would be disadvantaged. Ipads will be accompanied by launch deals from major traditional publishers when there are opportunities to promote independent e-book publishing (Kirn 2010). Thus this dominant control enables Apple to control its e-books’ prices at will as Apple’s device is the only way to access to academic content. This monopolistic power is undesired in a healthy economy. There must be traditional printed media to balance the competitive force in the industry. Moreover, digital and networked media are believed to reduce the authority of professionalism by encouraging readers’ comments and writers’ responses. Excessive information’s transparency would result in information’s unreliability. Thus printed publishers believe the digital publishers destroy the print model through “carelessness and overly optimistic decision-making” (Sims 2010). If a community reader requires authentic information, Wiki-publishing is inadequate. Thus, the value of publishing should not be underestimated (Jovanovich 2009, p.71).  Finally, digital and networked media are not widely applied in less developed countries, such as South Africa, etc because of their under-developed infrastructure and other civilization’s matters (Bhaskar 2009). Thus, traditional publishing industry still stands strong in those countries.  For the above disadvantages of digital and networked media, it is argued that publishing industry cannot be entirely replaced. Rebekah Bromley and Dorothy Bowles (1995, p.15) support this argument “some research suggest that alternative explanations that would allow new technology to coexist with existing media, rather than bringing about the demise or radical alternation of traditional media”. Because people love books, computer is not going to substitute for books in the hearts or minds of anybody. It is a ludicrous idea that books would become rarer until they are finally erased from existence (Gomez 2008, p.13). The essence that readers get to decide the means by which they will access the book does not mean there will not be printed books. Books become part of everyone’s lives. The sale of digital devices will support the sales of books (Osnos 2010).

To continue their existence in this digital environment, traditional publishing industry must adjust its business models and practices to incorporate with digital and networked media. Print publishers who wish to thrive in the new environment will not just have to learn new tricks but will also have to tool up their in-house technological competencies to improve their publishing skills. They should further encompass all the ways in which they consumer might want to read a book. Many media consultants and publishing executives advise that publishers should “embrace the values of the Internet” (Jovanovich 2009, p.70). Print must adapt to Web economies as a platform to deliver optimal results. Google-like model of source-agnostic content aggregation that is tuned to the needs of individual audiences is recommended. Publisher should also offer some services that enable users to print any collection of content from whatever source, in whatever form, with whatever quantity that suits them best (Murphie & Fuller 2011). Jenna Worthham (2010) suggests that “the goal is not standalone application but to enable other hardware and software platforms”. The move by newspapers and magazines to make their material freely available on the Web has saved millions on the costs of printing and distributing their publications (Stone 2009). Many book publishers are launching their own blogs because of various new and important opportunities including the ability to connect and communicate with niche audiences that are deeply interested in their books (Nelson 2006, p.3). Blogs allow publishers to monitor trends about their books through viewers’ comments, and editors to identify the most interesting and unique new voices in the blogosphere. Furthermore, publishers can access previously untapped communities of readers, and access influential communicators and business people that spread information about books through their blogs. Thus, blogs are opening new, low-cost channels for book publicity and advertising that are being utilized by many traditional media outlets to increase their books’ sales.

In conclusion, the digital shifts are being felt by many publishers. Digital and networked media have not only dismantled market’s share of traditional publishing industry, but also diminished its long-standing role in the society. Although this is an obvious threat to traditional media, it is concluded that traditional publishing industry would not be entirely replaced. Rather these threats are driving forces for new improvements within this sector. The publishing industry has to change for survival. Digital and networked media would be utilized as complementary tool to maintain their books’ sales. Therefore, communities are looking forwards a more flexible publishing industry in the future.

References

Bhaskar, M 2009, E-books in Africa: 1, The Digitalist, accessed 26 May 2011, <http://thedigitalist.net/2009/05/ebooks-in-africa-1/ >

Bromley, RV & Bowles, D 1995, ‘Impact of Internet on use of traditional news media’, Newspaper Research Journal, vol. 16, issue 2, Spring, pp. 14 – 27, accessed 26 May 2011 from Communication and Mass Media Complete, ISSN: 0739-5329

Cicinnati, OH 2011, Is Publishing Dead? Wubbit’s Founder Says No … and Offers Five Key “Edits” That Can Revive the $40-Billion Industry, PR Web, accessed 29 May 2011, < http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/01/prweb4970434.htm>

Companies and Markets 2010, Newspaper Printing or Publishing in Australia – Industry Market Research Report, accessed 29 May 2011, < http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Summary-Market-Report/newspaper-printing-or-publishing-in-australia-industry-market-research-report-277796.asp>

Conan, N. (2010, December 21). E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing [Radio Transcript]. National Public Radio [Online]. Available: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing

Gomez J 2008, Print is dead: books in our digital age, 1st edn, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

Jovanovich, P 2009, ‘Publishing in Hard Times’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 25, issue 2, pp.67 – 72, accessed 26 May 2011 from Communication & Mass Media Complete, ISSN: 1053-8801

Kirn, P 2010, How Great A Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac, Create Digital Music, accessed 26 May 2011, <http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/01/how-a-great-product-can-be-bad-news-apple-ipad-and-the-closed-mac/>

Martin, S 2010, ‘Digital revolution a threat to publishing industry, Adelaide Now, accessed 29 May 2011, < http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/technology/digital-revolution-a-threat-to-publishing-industry/story-e6freaal-1225830927108>

Moriarty, Sandra E. 1983, ‘New Technology: A Review of What’s Up, What’s In, and What’s Out’, Public Relations Quarterly, vol. 28, issue. 4, winter, pp.15 -, accessed 30 May 2011 from Communication & Mass Media Complete, ISSN: 0033-3700

Murphie, A. & Fuller, G 2011, Distribution, Aggregation and The Social, lecture notes distributed in Publics and Publishing at The University of New South Wales

Naughton, J 2010, ‘Publishers take note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’’, The Guardian, 19 December, accessed 26 May 2011, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/19/ipad-publishing-kindle-books-apple>

Neary, L. (2010, December 21). E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing [Radio Transcript]. National Public Radio [Online]. Available: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing

Nelson, M 2006, ‘The Blog Phenomenon and The Book Publishing Industry’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 22, issue 2, summer, pp. 3 – 26, accessed 26 May 2011 from Communication & Mass Media Complete, ISSN: 1053-8801

Osnos , P. (2010, December 21). E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing [Radio Transcript]. National Public Radio [Online]. Available: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing

Sims, J 2010, Keep the Print Guy Away From the iPad App, SimsBlog, weblog post, 28 January, accessed 26 May 2011,< http://simsblog.typepad.com/simsblog/2010/01/keep-the-print-guys-away-from-the-ipad-app.html >

Stone, B 2009, ‘Looking to Big-Screen E-Readers to Help Save the Daily Press’, The New York Times, 3 May, accessed 26 May 2011, < http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/technology/companies/04reader.html?_r=5>

Worthham, J 2010, ‘Social Books Hopes to Make E-Reading Communal’, The New York Times, 11 November, accessed 26 May 2011, < http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/social-books-hopes-to-make-e-reading-communal/>

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VISUALISATION in SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

The goal of scientific visualization is to help scientists view and better understand their data as their research matures. It is often difficult to understand the data by direct inspection due to its massive size and complexity. Scientific visualization can help with these difficulties by representing the data so that it may be viewed entirely. In the case of varying data during an experiment, animations can be created that show this variation in a natural way. Viewing the data in this way can attract the scientist’s attention to interesting parts of the data (Visualisation Group, 2009).

A visualization of Atmospheric CO2 in the period between March 1958 and March 2011 is a useful example (CO2now.org). Trying to identify any relationships and long-term trends from the data table of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations taken over several years may be impossible. However, if this set of numerical information is plotted on the graph – as shown on the website, those complicated numbers start to make sense. The horizontal axis shows different years that were interesting for scientist to investigate, and the vertical axis shows the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in units of parts per million that coincides in each year. Thus, the graph is showing us the change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations over time. A more important role that graphs play is helping scientists to interpret their data. On the graph, it is easier for scientists to see that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 steadily rose over time (i.e. the upward inclining black broken line shows the long-term trend of average annual CO2 concentrations), and since 1985 it has exceeded its acceptable safety limit.

The ability to visualize their researched statistics, scientists is encouraged to go beyond this initial launch. The relationship between rising CO2 concentration and natural and seasonal changes would be further interpreted. Moreover, it may be concluded that the long-term increase is related to the growing number of human activities that release (Egger 2004). Different campaigns may be set up to discourage burning fossil fuels, using plastic bags etc.

In conclusion, visualization is not only supportive tool in scientific research but also a constructive technique to communicate the research’s results to the public. Visualization helps scientists to move beyond their initial point of collecting data, to make those data become meaningful and useful. Therefore, scientists are encouraged to use scientific visualization from the beginning of their experiments and not just when they think they have everything operating properly (Visualisation Group, 2009)

References

The co2now.org (2011), Earth CO2 Homepage [Online]. Available at <http://co2now.org/>

Visualisation Group (2009), About the Visualisation Group [Online]. Available at < http://www-vis.lbl.gov/About/>

Anne E. Egger, Ph.D. “Visualizing Scientific Data: An essential component of research,” Visionlearning Vol. SCI-2 (1), 2004.

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VISUALISATION

The invisible has more functionality nowadays. We are required to process huge amount of data silently passes us all the time. Thus visualization has become a very powerful tool that simplifies many tasks in our lives. As the name suggests, the term itself implies a descriptive concepts that is to make the invisible visible. Although the term conveys a technical sense, practical examples can be easily found around us. They can be as simple as those symbols instruct how to use a product (i.e. image of a dash line with a scissors at one end means ‘cut here’ (Timo, 2006)). More sophisticated visualizations would be a financial graph of stock exchange movements or an x-ray image reflecting our inside bodies. Therefore, visualization is a production of data-based images which are abstracts of some theories. It is a sensory signal of invisible phenomenon. One of the most important applications of visualization is pattern recognition. Since visualization represents a replicating set of data, graphics routines can be applied with temporal accuracy (http://impromptu.moso.com.au). Once a particular pattern is exploited, professionals are more equipped in discovering the roots of problems currently facing. Thus approaches to fix / to improve are more apparent. Images that show how 200 calories looks like (Infosthetics, 2007) would help us to adjust our eating habits to have healthier diets.  In addition, the effectiveness of those visualizations relies on its interactivity with audiences (Gates, 2008). The visualization should not only engage with audiences, but also with history, technology and other creators. Successful example would include the Christian Aid ‘History of Poverty’ chart. This is a sophisticated 3D world map that reveals the development of countries over the last few hundred years in terms of poverty. The representation is appealing because interactions with the data are enabled by an annotated timeline (Infostethics, 2010). On the other hand, it must also be warned that those interactive projects do not guarantee the completed demonstration of any particular issue (Fredbeig, n.d.). Archrival data only tells stories of the past to predict possibilities in the future. But the accuracy is ambiguous. Therefore, users should be aware in insisting any predictions relied on those visualizations. Further research about the relationships of variables represented should be followed to assure its truthfulness.

References

Editors and Friedberg, Anne (2007) The Virtual Window Interactive Vectors [Online]. Available at http://www.vectorsjournal.org/index.php?page=7&projectId=79

Gates, Carrie (2009) Vague Terrain 09: Rise of the VJ [Online]. Available at http://vagueterrain.net/journal09

Arnell, Timo (2006) The dashed line in use [Online]. Available at  http://www.nearfield.org/2006/09/the-dashed-line-in-use

Impromptu (n.d.) What is impromptu [Online]. Available at http://impromptu.moso.com.au/

Information aesthetics (2011) A History of Poverty: Charting International Development over Time [Online]. Available at http://infosthetics.com/archives/2011/03/a_history_of_poverty_charting_international_development_over_time.html

Information aesthetics (2007) How does 200 calories look like? [online]. Available at http://infosthetics.com/archives/2007/01/how_does_200_calories_look_like.html

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