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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Love Is a Battlefield : ‘Maternal’ Emotions and White Catharsis in Baz Luhrmann's Post-Apology ‘Australia’
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'In Baz Luhrmann's Australia (2008), audiences encounter emotive scenes including depictions of an Indigenous child stolen from a white ‘mother’ in a time of war. Given that the film is framed with reference to the history of the Stolen Generations and the Apology, this paper explores the functions of such a narrative in constructions of the white imaginary. Inverting truths around the destruction of Indigenous families and policies of assimilation, management and control requires in this instance the appropriation of the maternal domain of the Indigenous mother by the white female body; an English woman reclaiming ‘her’ land. Through such a repositioning, anxieties around belonging and guilt may undergo a form of catharsis via the apparent empathetic engagement with a ‘stolen’ maternal love. Drawing on Ghassan Hage's insights into the possessive logic of the ‘white’ nation and Sara Ahmed's analysis of emotional politics, this article analyses the connection between the films Australia and Jedda (1955), critiquing the potential for such a cinematic catharsis to assuage shame, and reify national virtue. I contend that there is a violence inherent in colonising ‘love’ through such fantasies that inhabit the locus and stories of ‘the other’ at the moment of ‘Apology’, neutralising threats to negative conceptions of self as benevolent bodies at ‘home’ in the imaginary landscape of Australia.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 28 Nov 2014 09:15:15
83-95 Love Is a Battlefield : ‘Maternal’ Emotions and White Catharsis in Baz Luhrmann's Post-Apology ‘Australia’small AustLit logo Studies in Australasian Cinema
  • Australia Baz Luhrmann , Stuart Beattie , Ronald Harwood , Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work film/TV
  • Jedda Charles Chauvel , Elsa Chauvel , 1955 single work film/TV
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