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Australian Post-War Documentary Film

An Arc of Mirrors

The postwar period in Australian history was rife with critical debate over notions of nation-building, multiculturalism, and internationalization. Australian Post-War Documentary Film tackles these issues in a considered, wide-ranging analysis of three types of documentaries: governmental, institutional, and radical. Charting the rise of progressive film culture, this volume critiques key films of the era, including The Back of Beyond, and retells film history by placing these documentaries in an international context.
 
“A significant contribution to documentary history, the history of left-wing thought in the West, and Australian studies.”—Ian Henderson, Editor of Studies in Australasian Cinema
 
“Deane Williams re-evaluates Australian documentary film production after World War II, positioning it as part of an international left culture which can embrace producers as different as the Realist Film Unit, Cecil Holmes, John Heyer and Maslyn Williams. He invites readers on an always enlightening and often exciting journey through a complex web of people and films and events, to view Australian culture through the documentary film ‘arc of mirrors’.”—Ina Bertrand, University of Melbourne
 
Australian Postwar Documentary Film: An Arc ofMirrors is a thoroughly and painstakingly researched study of its subject, which draws upon a wealth of new oral and other forms of historical resource related to the Australian labour movement and associated film-making.”—Ian Aitken, De Montfort University
 
“With erudition and insight, Deane Williams in this book reconstructs a previously obscured era of documentary cinema in Australia, shedding light on the network of affiliations and associations that underlay the making of a cluster of compelling, politically charged documentary films in the postwar era. . . . This is an immensely thoughtful and timely contribution to the growing literature on the history of documentary cinema.”—Charles Wolfe, University of California, Santa Barbara 
 

192 pages | 20 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2008

Film Studies


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Reviews

“A significant contribution to documentary history, the history of left-wing thought in the West, and Australian studies.”

Ian Henderson, Editor of Studies in Australasian Cinema

“Deane Williams re-evaluates Australian documentary film production after World War II, positioning it as part of an international left culture which can embrace producers as different as the Realist Film Unit, Cecil Holmes, John Heyer and Maslyn Williams. He invites readers on an always enlightening and often exciting journey through a complex web of people and films and events, to view Australian culture through the documentary film ‘arc of mirrors’.”

Ina Bertrand, University of Melbourne

Australian Postwar Documentary Film: An Arc ofMirrors is a thoroughly and painstakingly researched study of its subject, which draws upon a wealth of new oral and other forms of historical resource related to the Australian labour movement and associated film-making.”

Ian Aitken, De Montfort University

“With erudition and insight, Deane Williams in this book reconstructs a previously obscured era of documentary cinema in Australia, shedding light on the network of affiliations and associations that underlay the making of a cluster of compelling, politically charged documentary films in the postwar era. . . . This is an immensely thoughtful and timely contribution to the growing literature on the history of documentary cinema.”

Charles Wolfe, University of California, Santa Barbara

"In looking closely at a small and seemingly insignificant site of documentary production, Williams has also given us a much broader vision." – Ross Gibson, University of Technology, Sydney

Ross Gibson

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Preface
Introduction: Grierson Diminished
 
Chapter 1:  A Realist Film Unit and Association in Australia
Chapter 2:  Cecil Holmes’s Folk Politics: The Intertextuality of Three in One
Chapter 3:  John Heyer’s International Perspective: The Overlanders, The Valley is Ours, The Back of Beyond
Chapter 4:  The Neo-Realism of Mike and Stefani
Chapter 5:  Settler Journeys
 
Filmography
References

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