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form y separately published work icon The Last Wave single work   film/TV   horror   fantasy  
Issue Details: First known date: 1977... 1977 The Last Wave
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Based on an original idea by Peter Weir, The Last Wave concerns a young Sydney lawyer who, while defending four Aboriginal men against a murder charge, becomes troubled by dreams. He soon begins to feel the pull of magic forces beneath the surface of civilisation. A series of apparently random occurences assume a disturbing pattern and the city becomes a facade for a place of ancient ritual.


  • This film is included in Australian Screen's collection 'Horror in Australian Cinema': (Sighted: 6/7/2012)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

They Are My Totem : We Sing and Dance to the Pelicans Penelope Debelle , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 10 October 2015; (p. 16)
Return to The Last Wave Andrew Nette , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , October 2015;

— Review of The Last Wave Petru Popescu , Peter Weir , Tony Morphett , 1977 single work film/TV
An Authentic Dreamtime : David Gulpilil and The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977) Lisa French , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Senses of Cinema , June no. 75 2015;
;Over more than thirty years, actor, dancer, musician and visual artist David Gulpilil has been deeply engaged in telling the “big, true” stories of his people. When Peter Weir made The Last Wave in 1977, the process of working with Gulpilil and other Indigenous actors opened a door to a new way of seeing the world. They created what Gulpilil himself has described as a film that was not only “very important for his people”, but also one which he said was “the first film to authentically describe Aboriginal ‘Dreamtime’ mythology”. '(Author's introduction)
Years of Living Dangerously : The Last Wave, The Plumber, Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously Sue Mathews , 2014 single work interview
— Appears in: Peter Weir : Interviews 2014; (p. 85-104)
Interview conducted in 1985.
Towards a Politics and Art of the Land : Gothic Cinema of the Australian New Wave and Its Reception by American Film Critics Patrick West , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: M/C Journal , August vol. 17 no. 4 2014;

'Many films of the Australian New Wave (or Australian film renaissance) of the 1970s and 1980s can be defined as gothic, especially following Jonathan Rayner’s suggestion that “Instead of a genre, Australian Gothic represents a mode, a stance and an atmosphere, after the fashion of American Film Noir, with the appellation suggesting the inclusion of horrific and fantastic materials comparable to those of Gothic literature” (25). The American comparison is revealing. The 400 or so film productions of the Australian New Wave emerged, not in a vacuum, but in an increasingly connected and inter-mixed international space (Godden). Putatively discrete national cinemas weave in and out of each other on many levels. One such level concerns the reception critics give to films. This article will drill down to the level of the reception of two examples of Australian gothic film-making by two well-known American critics. Rayner’s comparison of Australian gothic with American film noir is useful; however, it begs the question of how American critics such as Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris influentially shaped the reception of Australian gothic in America and in other locations (such as Australia itself) where their reviews found an audience either at the time or afterwards. The significance of the present article rests on the fact that, as William McClain observes, following in Rick Altman’s footsteps, “critics form one of the key material institutions that support generic formations” (54). This article nurtures the suggestion that knowing how Australian gothic cinema was shaped, in its infancy, in the increasingly important American market (a market of both commerce and ideas) might usefully inform revisionist studies of Australian cinema as a national mode.' (Introduction)

Return to The Last Wave Andrew Nette , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , October 2015;

— Review of The Last Wave Petru Popescu , Peter Weir , Tony Morphett , 1977 single work film/TV
Breaking the Frame: The Representation of Aborigines in Australian Film Graeme Turner , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 10 no. 1-2 1988; (p. 135-145)
Tracking Gulpilil on Screen: Changing Representations of Indigenous Identity Jane Steinhaeuser , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Credits Rolling: Film & History Conference, Canberra Australia 2-5 December 2004 : Selected Papers 2004; (p. 43-48)
Fear in Peter Weir's Australian Films : A Matter of Control Theodore F. Sheckels , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 23 no. 1 2009; (p. 75-80)
Many have noted the prevalence of the emotion of fear in Peter Weir's Australian films. In dealing with this fear, commentators have directed their focus at the world external to that which Weir's characters inhabit. The commentators have asked what is it 'out there' that these characters are so afraid of. As is wont of all good scholars they have attempted to discern an answer that unites Weir's oeuvre.
From Aboriginal Australia to German Autumn : On the West German Reception of Thirteen ‘Films from Black Australia’ Andrew W. Hurley , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 3 no. 3 2009; (p. 251-263)
'This article examines some aspects of the West German reception of a series of Australian films about Aborigines - including Peter Weir's The Last Wave (1977), Phillip Noyce's Backroads (1977) and Michael Edols' Lalai and Floating (1973 and 1975) - which were shown in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in 1978 and 1979. It explains how these films came to be shown in Europe, how and why they caught the imagination of German reviewers and film-makers at the time, and how they themselves contributed to the begetting of several German films on Aboriginal themes - including Nina Gladitz's documentary Das Uran gehört der Regenbogenschlange (The Uranium Belongs to the Rainbow Serpent) (1979), Werner Herzog's Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) and Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World (1991).' (Author's abstract)
Are You a Fish? Are You a Snake? An Obvious Lecture and Some Notes on The Last Wave William D. Routt , 1994 single work essay
— Appears in: Continuum : The Australian Journal of Media & Culture , vol. 8 no. 2 1994;


1978 Nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Screenplay - Original
Last amended 2 Sep 2015 08:35:49
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