Nowhere to run

Liverpool University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science Fiction Film and Television, 2017, 10 (3), pp. 329 - 351
Issue Date:
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This article argues that despite the genre status of the Mad Max films as post-apocalyptic sf, the driving force behind many of the images and concerns of the films derives from aspects of Australian history since colonisation. The article compares the way these themes appear in the Mad Max films to the way they are explored in ‘Crabs’, a 1972 short story by Australian writer Peter Carey. This story was later filmed as Dead End Drive-In, a film which itself draws on the aesthetic already developed through the Mad Max films. I use Freud’s theory of repetition compulsion to explore ways in which history is both remembered and deliberately forgotten through imagery that is dislocated from the past to the ‘future’ and thus in effect to a timeless, ever-present or ever-recurring time. The article also argues that Foucault’s concept of heterotopia (a space that is populated by a selected, heterogenerous group such inmates in a prison), describes the reality of the penal colonies forming the origins of settler Australia. The colony’s status as heterotopia has led to a pervasive sense of the ‘irreality’ of Australia for many non-Indigenous Australians, expressed through numerous artworks: a sense that there is no ‘there’ out there, nowhere to run.
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