Australian New Wave: The Renaissance of Australian Cinema

March 18, 2023, 11:41 a.m. Australian New Wave Evelyn Lark

Australian New Wave: The Renaissance of Australian Cinema

Australian New Wave: The Renaissance of Australian Cinema

The Australian New Wave, also known as the Australian Film Renaissance, was a period of remarkable growth and creativity in Australian cinema during the 1970s and early 1980s. This movement saw the emergence of a new generation of talented filmmakers and actors, whose works revitalized the Australian film industry and garnered international acclaim. In this essay, we will delve into the origins of the Australian New Wave, its defining characteristics, and its lasting influence on the global film landscape.

The Australian film industry experienced a significant decline in the 1950s and 1960s, as Hollywood productions dominated the market, and local productions struggled to find funding and audiences. However, the 1970s brought a renewed interest in Australian stories and culture, spurred by a series of government initiatives designed to support and promote the national film industry. This government support, coupled with a surge in film school graduates and the influence of international film movements, laid the groundwork for the Australian New Wave.

Characteristics of the Australian New Wave: The Australian New Wave was characterized by diverse themes, styles, and genres, but several common elements connected the films of this era:

  1. Distinctly Australian stories: New Wave filmmakers often focused on telling stories that were uniquely Australian, exploring the nation's history, culture, and landscapes.
  2. Realism: Many Australian New Wave films adopted a realistic approach to storytelling, tackling social issues and presenting authentic characters and situations.
  3. Landscape as a central element: The Australian landscape, with its vast and rugged beauty, played a crucial role in many films of this period, often serving as a character in its own right.
  4. Break from traditional narratives: Filmmakers embraced innovative storytelling techniques, experimenting with non-linear narratives and blending genres to create unique cinematic experiences.

The Australian New Wave produced a wealth of talent and groundbreaking films that received both critical and commercial success. Some of the most influential directors and films from this period include:

The Australian New Wave had a lasting impact on the nation's film industry and its international reputation. The movement not only revitalized Australian cinema, but it also paved the way for future generations of filmmakers and actors who would continue to make their mark on the global stage. The films of the Australian New Wave showcased the diversity, depth, and beauty of Australian stories and landscapes, and their influence can still be felt in contemporary Australian cinema.

Here is a list of 15 films that are considered part of the Australian New Wave movement:

  1. "Wake in Fright" (1971) - directed by Ted Kotcheff
  2. "Walkabout" (1971) - directed by Nicolas Roeg
  3. "The Cars That Ate Paris" (1974) - directed by Peter Weir
  4. "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975) - directed by Peter Weir
  5. "The Devil's Playground" (1976) - directed by Fred Schepisi
  6. "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" (1978) - directed by Fred Schepisi
  7. "My Brilliant Career" (1979) - directed by Gillian Armstrong
  8. "Mad Max" (1979) - directed by George Miller
  9. "Breaker Morant" (1980) - directed by Bruce Beresford
  10. "Gallipoli" (1981) - directed by Peter Weir
  11. "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior" (1981) - directed by George Miller
  12. "Puberty Blues" (1981) - directed by Bruce Beresford
  13. "Starstruck" (1982) - directed by Gillian Armstrong
  14. "The Man from Snowy River" (1982) - directed by George T. Miller
  15. "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982) - directed by Peter Weir

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