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Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Peter Carey's and Ray Lawrence's Bliss (1985): Fiction, Film and Power
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This article looks into the uncertain cultural politics of Ray Lawrence's 1985 film adaptation of Peter Carey's Bliss (1981) perhaps one reason for critical reticence about it to examine the functioning of the film as a critique of the options aesthetic, commercial and political within the inherited aesthetic force field of the period. The film is considered in two ways: first, with regard to the question of why Bliss has come to be regarded as a key film in the story of the Australian movies, as a kind of liberation point a leap away from naturalism and the historical realism of the new wave of the 1970s (Byrnes 2008); and second, with regard to its main theme, the satiric treatment of advertising, American consumerism and commodity culture. What lies at the heart of this is the complex relationship between representation and power, and this will be considered in terms of the paradox that Bliss criticizes consumerism while being aware of its own aspirations as a commercial feature film, and therefore a commodity. This is what is meant by the film's uncertain cultural politics: the paradox arises from the fact that cinema is both an artistic and a commercial medium; as a culture-industry, it seeks to criticize the commercial processes in which it is itself embedded (Author's abstract).

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Last amended 15 Feb 2011 12:03:42
279-294 Peter Carey's and Ray Lawrence's Bliss (1985): Fiction, Film and Powersmall AustLit logo Studies in Australasian Cinema
  • Bliss Peter Carey , Ray Lawrence , 1985 single work film/TV
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