'This article analyses the controversy that greeted the release of Paradise Road, Bruce Beresford's 1997 film about civilian women interned by the Japanese in World War Two. It centres on three issues that dominated critical reception of the film: its handling of the issues of sexual threat and physical violence to woman in captivity: the representation of Japanese camp guards; and debate about the film's claims to accuracy. These issues are intrinsically linked to broader understandings about gender, race and historical truth.
The article examines how race overtook gender in political debate as the fulcrum of the film's cultural comment on war. It suggests that this trend was particularly acute in Australia, where a discussion of race ultimately elided the film's gendered aspects and merged into a consideration of the film's historical truthfulness. This process reveals the strength of perceptions among movie-goers and many reviewers that cinematic history can reveal the truth about the past, and the need for historians to engage more fully in public debate about film and history.' (Christina Twomey).