A movie is a work of fiction; however, characters within movies are based on positive stereotypes for the protagonist hero and negative stereotypes for the antagonist villain. Because of the reference to real-life stereotypes, movies often blur the lines between myth and reality and thus have the ability to shape political viewpoints and beliefs about various cultures. A central plank in the strategy was to fabricate negative stereotypes about Australian racism and apply them to the antagonist Australian culture at large so that audiences would have a strong identification with the protagonist Hugh Jackman that sought to overcome them.
A movie is a work of fiction; however, characters within movies are based on positive stereotypes for the protagonist hero and negative stereotypes for the antagonist villain. Because of the reference to real-life stereotypes, movies often blur the lines between myth and reality and thus have the ability to shape political viewpoints and beliefs about various cultures.
A central plank in the strategy was to fabricate negative stereotypes about Australian racism and apply them to the antagonist Australian culture at large so that audiences would have a strong identification with the protagonist Hugh Jackman that sought to overcome them.
To make the stereotypes look more real, the film was anchored in the history of The Australian identity in film Generations. Ironically, despite being a movie that purported to be anchored in true history and contemporary Aboriginal advocacy, Australia was ignorant about the basic facts of Australian history and how they related to the Stolen Generations.
Specifically, Luhrmann's protagonist was a white man named Drover Hugh Jackman who had ostracised because he had married an Aboriginal woman.
He had become single again after his wife died after being refused heath care treatment by local officials. In truth, at the time the movie was World War 2sex across the colour line had been illegal in the Northern Territory so someone like Drover would have found it almost impossible to legally marry a black woman.
Arguably, this was the chief reason for why so many Australian identity in film race children that became known as the Stolen Generations grew up without knowing their parents. Instead of supporting marriage, the Northern Territory administator criminalised them. If Luhrmann had been true to history, he would have shown Jackson in the relationship with the Aboriginal woman.
Although this would not have appealed to audience that would be confronted by a mixed-race relationships, it would have given Lurhmann the chance to illuminate why so many mixed race children ended up in missions.
Instead of giving Jackman a black love interest, Luhrmann gave him a white station owner Lady Sarah Nicole Kidman who was newly arrived from England. The two also adopted a mixed race boy named Nullah, a boy whose Aboriginal mother had died and whose white father was the film's antagonist.
After the romance had bloomed and a family formed, Nullah was ripped away by authorities who sent him to live on a mission where he could be assimilated as part of the Stolen Generations. Eventually, Nullah was saved so that he could go walkabout with his maternal grandfather. Lady Sarah and Drover lived happily ever after.
Prior to the credits, Australia states that the policy of assimilation stealing children ended in and that the Government apologised to the stolen generations in In the statement, Lurhmann again showed that he was ignorant to the basic historical facts relating to the Stolen Generations.
Ironically, it was post when it developed social engineering policies that could be defined as assimilation. The federal government did indeed apologise inbut it was a political apology designed to improve the electoral prospects of PM Kevin Rudd.
No compensation was paid, no legislative changes made, no past past bureaucrats named and shamed and no reference was made to any piece of policy that made the federal government culpable. As former Australian treasurer Peter Costello pointed out: It is out to make a statement - not one that will interfere with the box office receipts, but increase them - and show it is more than just a romance.
The filmmaker wants to show a conscience, and make a healthy return. It is OK to invent things in movie fiction. But this movie wants to look historical. It ends by telling us that the policy of assimilation ended in Nobody ever explained what that policy was. It tells us the Government apologised to the stolen generations in which solves the indigenous problem.
Policies such as banning the supply of alcohol to Aborigines and sex across the colour line could not be defined as assimilationist. Despite being ignorant of history, promotion in the US indicated that Australia was based on historical truths.
For example, when selling the film to the American market, Lurhmann said, "The President-elect of the United States is If he was living in Australia, it is absolutely credible that the government, because he had one white parent and one black parent, could have taken him forcibly from his family.
They would have put him in an institution, probably lied to him that his parents were dead, changed his name and reprogrammed him to be European, so he could have some sort of function doing something of service in white society.
That would possibly have been Obama's journey. Eugenics in Europe, as we saw with Nazi Germany, was sort of popular at the time.The Australian film industry's focus on safe narratives and remakes in recent years leaves a hole that independent filmmakers are starting to fill with bold and provocative works.
In partnership with CAPA International Education Australian Cinema: Representation and Identity Haltof, Marek, “Gallipoli, Mateship, and the Construction of Australian National Identity”. Journal of Popular Film and Television (March 22, ).
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