Entanglement and the Modern Australian Rhythm Method: Lantana's Lessons in Policing Sexuality and Gender

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 2004, 1 (1), pp. 1 - 19
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Film in Australia, as with many other nations, is often seen as an important cultural medium where national stories about belonging and identity can be (re)produced in pleasurable and, at times, complicated ways. One such film is Ray Lawrences Lantana. Although striking a chord in Australia as a good film about ` basically good people, people that rang `brilliantly true (Lantana DVD 2002), this paper argues that, at the same time as it produces a fantasy of a `good Australia, the film also conducts a regulation of what constitutes Australianness. In many ways the imaginary of Australia offered in this film, to its contemporary, urban, professional and intellectual elite audience, still draws on and (re)produces a vision of an Australian community that uses the same narrative frameworks of protection and control as the cruder discourses of `white Australia offered to an earlier generation of cinema-goers. This films central motif of the lantana bush, the out of control weed, that is known as both foreign and local is here emblematic of tensions about belonging, place and otherness. Yet while, within the films knowingly reflexive purview any remaining potential for racism is understood and itself under control we know how to be good mutliculturalists it is the trope of sexuality in Lantana that provides the real sense of edginess and anxiety about belonging.
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