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Extraordinary undercurrents: Australian cinema, genre and the everyday

Thomas, David Glyndwr (2006) Extraordinary undercurrents: Australian cinema, genre and the everyday. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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'Extraordinary Undercurrents: Australian Cinema, Genre and the Everyday' investigates how the critical uptake of genre-based cinema has been incorporated into the cultural and industrial rubric of Australian national cinema. The thesis offers, in part, a revaluation of theoretically under-emphasized texts (as well as texts that have been the subject of much higher levels of scrutiny), in order to establish recurrent threads within Australian cinema. In doing this, the thesis offers new and original knowledge in the form of developing a perspective for a revised critical and theoretical analysis of genre cinema within Australian cinema, challenging the presumption of the kinds of texts that can be seen as articulating the nation. The groups of films examined herein form nodes through which a network of important and divergent ideas about nation, national identity and social organization come together in the form of narrative and thematic undercurrents.

These (generally malevolent) undercurrents are articulated in the filmic representation of a range of conventional personal, social and cultural dichotomies, and of particular interest are the events, characters and narratives in which the everyday is confronted by the abstract, abject and uncanny. The undercurrents I identify are shown as the textual sites in which transgression - both inside and outside the frame - and intertextuality are collocated, representing the convergence of material which simultaneously operates outside of genres, while reinforcing textual similarity. The undercurrents I identify provide a theoretical direction in analysing interaction between national cinema, culture and identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Supervisor(s): Gillard, Garry
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