ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5

HISTORY, MYTH AND ALLEGORY IN AUSTRALIAN CINEMA; pp. 276–286

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2008.3.03

Author
Felicity Collins

Abstract
How can historical fiction tell the truth about the past? Focusing on the disciplinary boundaries between history and cultural theory, this article argues that, at moments of national crisis, historical fiction has the capacity to produce new forms of public memory and subjectivity that conventional historiography fails to recognise. This is evident in a recent cycle of Australian history films that deal with modernist, traumatic or holocaustal events stemming from the nation’s colonial past. Although historians tend to dismiss historical fictions as myth rather than history, cultural theory suggests that violent spectacle films such as The Proposition (Hillcoat 2005) can be understood as powerful allegories of historical time and modern subjectivity.
References

Attwood, Bain and Dipesh Chakrabarty (2006) “Risky histories”. Meanjin 65, 1, 200–207.

Benjamin, Walter (1973) “Theses on the philosophy of history”. In Illuminations, 245–255. Hannah Arendt, ed. Harry Zohn, trans. London: Fontana Press.

Benjamin, Walter (1977) The origin of German tragic drama. John Osborne, trans. London: NLB. [1st published as Ursprung des Deutschen Trauerspiels. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1963.]

Benjamin, Walter (1985) “Central Park”. New German Critique 34, 32–58.
doi:10.2307/488338

Buck-Morss, Susan (1995) The dialectics of seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades project, 159–201. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Clendinnen, Inga (2006) “The history question: who owns the past?”. Quarterly Essay, 23.

Collins, Felicity and Therese Davis (2006) “Disputing history, remembering country in The Tracker and Rabbit-Proof Fence”. Australian Historical Studies 37, 128, 35–54.

Elsaesser, Thomas (1996) “Subject positions, speaking positions: from Holocaust, Our Hitler and Heimat, to Shoah and Schindler´s List”. In The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event, 145–186, Vivian Sobchack, ed. New York and London: Routledge.

Elsaessser, Thomas (2001) “Postmodernism as mourning work”. Screen 42, 2, 193–201.
doi:10.1093/screen/42.2.193

Flanagan, Martin (2005) “Evil in pictures”. The Age. A2, 5 November, 18.

Gibson, Ross (2002) Seven versions of an Australian Badland. St Lucia, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press.

Hart, Carol (2006) “Portraits of settler history in The Proposition”. Senses of Cinema 38. http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/06/38/propositions.html

Howard, John (2006) Address to the National Press Club. Canberra: Parliament House. 25 January. http://www.pm.gov.au/news/speeches/speech1754.html

Jameson, Fredric (1986) “Third-world literature in the era of multinational capital”. Social Text 15, 65–88.
doi:10.2307/466493

Langton, Marcia (2006) “Out from the shadows”. Meanjin 65, 1, 55–64.

McKenna, Mark (2005) “Writing the past: history, literature and the public sphere in Australia”. Public Lecture. Brisbane: Queensland College of Art. 1 December. http:// humanitieswritingproject.net.au/mckenna.htm

Morris, Meaghan (2004) “Beyond assimilation: aboriginality, media history and public memory”. Rouge 3. http:www.rouge.com.au/3/beyond.html

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (1990) “On history and the cinema”. Screen 31, 2, 160–171.

Owens, Craig (1992) “The allegorical impulse: toward a theory of postmodernism”. In Beyond recognition: representation, power, and culture, 52–69. Scott Bryson, et al., eds. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Rosenstone, Robert A. (1996) “The future of the past: film and the beginnings of postmodern history“. In The persistence of history: cinema, television and the modern event, 201–218, Vivian Sobchak, ed. New York: Routledge.

Rosenstone, Robert A. (2006) History on film, film on history. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education/ Longman.

Routt, William D. (2005) “The evening of redness in the west” The Age Review, 1 October, Talking Point, 8–9.

Schwarz, Bill (2004) “Media times/historical times” Screen 45, 2, 93–105.
doi:10.1093/screen/45.2.93

White, Hayden (1996) “The modernist event”. In The persistence of history: cinema, television and the modern event, 17-38. Vivian Sobchak, ed. New York: Routledge.

Xavier, Ismail (1999) “Historical allegory”. In A companion to film theory, 333–362. Toby Miller and Robert Stam, eds. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Back to Issue