The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
'Following a screening of Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty (2011) at the Sydney Film Festival in 2011, I was surprised by the antagonism in questioners' responses to the main character Lucy which appeared to reify the ‘girl’ within conventional expectations of feminine behaviour. Lucy is a young university student who, as one of many part-time jobs, is voluntarily drugged so as to sleep naked and peacefully in bed with older men who may do with her as they wish, so long as they do not penetrate her. Identifying Lucy as ‘girl’ highlights both the space of liminality in which she exists and the desire for her to transition through this stage of her life to become a responsible woman. I examine the expectations of girls produced in the media and society and the contradictions they entail, the vulnerability that Lucy's employment as a sleeping beauty represents, and the ways in which the character encourages viewers to rethink what constitutes passivity. I argue that Sleeping Beauty highlights the importance of placing aside such expectations and accepting the challenge of confused and imperfect representations. Indeed, surrendering such expectations enables recognition of the heteronormative constraints that structure society.' (Publication summary)
'This article explores the changing nature of representations of the landscape in Australian film. It focuses on how these myths are changing in the recent films Japanese Story and Red Dog. It charts the ways that the two films represent changes to the mythological base of Australian film, as it is outlined by Ross Gibson in his book South of the West: Postcolonialism and the Narrative Construction of Australia. It also charts the way these films continue the tradition that Gibson outlines. The article criticises analysis of some recent Australian film, claiming that the analysis is too focused on emerging stories that relate to indigenous reconciliation and multicultural integration. It suggests that the methodologies used to examine landscape in Australian film need to examine visual constructions of the landscape in order to fully understand the complex process that goes into its formation in film. The article also engages in a discussion of the development of monolithic ideas of Australian identity in the twentieth century and how mining mythology in the films studied is co-opting elements of this identity. It then discusses the ways in which cultural power interacts with the political and economic spheres suggesting a wider application for work concerning cultural knowledge of society.' (Publication summary)