Watching an Australian film: what’s wrong with this experience?

Debate: the problem isn’t Australian films, it’s Australian audiences.

 

Australian Audience Problems.

Australian Film Problems.

 

Comment below what side you agree / disagree with.

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2 thoughts on “Watching an Australian film: what’s wrong with this experience?

  1. Australia has turned out some fairly stunning films (and industry creatives) in its short lifespan. Renowned director Baz Luhrman, actress Cate Blanchett and a variety of Neighbours and/or Home and Away alum, have all been catapulted to the world stage after working their way through the ranks in Australian cinema. And Australia loves celebrating these success stories; so much so that we even unashamedly lie: for instance, despite his Kiwi origin, we will doggedly to fight to protect Russell Crowe as an Australian. So the argument for Australian cinema can not truly be that Australian audiences share a blanket distaste for the local industry – although we have a tendency to only recognise legitimacy in particularly our film, rather than TV actors once they have “hit the big time”. But is it really fair to criticise Australian audiences for not celebrating Australian film in the same publications which chastise said industry? As Oliver Farrugia points out in his discussion post, “What’s up with Australian cinema?”, the film industry needs to re-capture the local audience. Operating in an industry which constantly undergoes technological change, it is quite concerning that movies continue to be released and measured in traditional ways. Basically, the movie is made, marketed, released into cinemas with a variety of star-studded premiers, and box office takings counted. This is a very ‘Legacy-media’ way of acting, in an industry which should be leading the charge in terms of pushing barriers. Film is (generally) all about artistic expression. Why, then, is such a generic method deployed to reach an audience? As Oliver notes, the innovative method of straight-to-download release utilised for ‘The Mule’ is playing to what the audience has already shown the industry they want. So many more people are playing perilously with the law by torrenting films, rather than visiting the movie cinema. If this is the case, then why isn’t the industry investing in making web-downloading a viable option for both producer and consumer? The case may not be at all the Australian films do not appeal to audiences, but that their dissemination is outdated.

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  2. Whether films or audiences are to blame in success or lack thereof is a big question for the Australian film industry. Both Oliver and Daniel have made good points in regard to this. Both have pointed out that Australian films either are filled with depressing themes or ‘ocker’ stereotypes that are hit and miss with audiences.
    Deciding whether it is the fault of the films and producers or the audiences is incredibly difficult. On one hand, even critically acclaimed Australian films do poorly at the box office with domestic audiences. Daniel makes a good example with ‘The Rover’ that claimed a prestigious spot at Cannes and starred the very popular Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. On the other hand, producers of films do stick to traditional cinema releases even though the are continually proving to be ineffective. Oliver makes a good example with the film ‘The Mule’ being released straight to download and receiving relative success.
    Ultimately it appears to be a combination of unenthusiastic audiences and producers who do not make films accessible to these audiences, meaning even great film are often ignored or unheard of by Australian audiences. Critics do not accuse the films of being ‘bad’, it mostly appears that they are just accessible to audiences. I think Oliver makes a strong point saying that this is difficult to understand what the issue is, making fixing the problem even more difficult.

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