Australia Film, Dance and Ballet


For decades, the best-known Australian film production was documentary (John Heyer’s The Most Remote Corner of the World, 1953, on the odyssey of a mail truck; The People of the Desert, 1967, by Ian Dunlop, an extraordinary ethnographic essay on last aborigines), also because of a documentary structure it was the first internationally known post-war film: The Overlanders (1946), about a transmigration of cattle in the war period, signed by the Englishman Harry Watt. Instead, a subject cinema had existed from the very beginning: from 1899, in which the first feature film in the history of cinema (The Soldiers of the Cross) was produced in Australia, to 1919 in which it was released The Sentimental Type, a play by pioneer Raymond Longfort against drunkenness. For decades, however, the Anglo-American cultural, but especially economic, pressure had blocked the development of national production, so much so that, despite being equipped with a remarkable network of cinemas and an audience among the highest in the world, the country seemed to be satisfied with foreign products. In the seventies, thanks above all to Italy, Australian films landed in Europe: in 1975 Taormina awarded Ken Hannam’s Sunday, too far away on sheep shearers, in 1976 Picnic at Hanging Rock by Peter Weir, suggestively set in a girls’ boarding school. century, in 1978 News frontPhil Noyce on twenty years of newsreel; in 1980 Sorrento dedicated its annual “meeting” to Australia, a country located in Oceania listed on thesciencetutor. Among the films released on our screens stands out My brilliant career (1978) by Gill Armstrong, on the condition of women. In general, the themes of separation, social and sexual segregation prevail in Australian production and there is an anxious search for national and cultural identity. The great cinematographic development of Australia has resulted in the birth of a generation of excellent directors, such as Weir himself, Bruce Beresford, Roger Donaldson (b.1945), director of The Rule of Suspicion in 2003, Fred Schepisi (b. 1939), author of Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and Family Vice (2003). However, the Australian production does not seem to have suffered that much, given the certain talent of some directors of the following generations such as Jane Campion, Bill Bennet (b.1953), Richard Lowenstein (b.1959), Rolf De Heer, born in the Netherlands. in 1951, but raised in Australia and established himself in European festivals (Bad Boy Bubby 1994, La stanza di Chloe 1996 and Balla my song 1998), or as John Hillcoat (b.1961), PJ Hogan, n. 1962 (Muriel’s Wedding, 1994; My Best Friend’s Wedding, 1997), Emma Kate Croghan, b. 1972 (Love and other disasters, 1996), Scott Hicks (b.1953), author of an extraordinary Shine (1996) and Samantha Lang, born in 1967 in London (The Well, 1997). Also notable is the international success of intelligent and daring films such as: Priscilla the queen of the desert (1994) by Stephan Elliot (b.1964), Babe – brave pig (1995) by Chris Noonan (b.1952) and the sequel Babe goes to city (1998) by George Miller (b.1945), also author of Happy Feet in 2006 and Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015, Kiss or kill (1998) by Bill Bennett, Campion’s provocative Holy Smoke (1999) and the intimate drama Lantana(2001) by Ray Lawrence. The titles listed undoubtedly exemplify that the quality of the Australian-born cinematographic movement has been able to maintain a more genuine soul of its own, alongside the multimillion-dollar productions of recent years, landed on the island together with the Hollywood majors ; a trend that has often been recognized by the Academy Awards itself, as well as by the main international festivals. Even the most important productions of the early 2000s, made in Australian studios, such as Moulin Rouge! (2001), directed by Baz Luhrmann (b. 1962), have enjoyed considerable critical and public success. Among the most famous and appreciated actors are Nicole Kidman (b.1967, Hawaii),Cate Blanchett (b.1969), Heath Ledger (1979-2008) and Hugh Jackman (b.1968). The subsequent tests of the aforementioned P. Weir also fit into this vein of auteur cinematography, but with an American imprint: from The instant fugitive (1989) to The Truman Show (1998) to Master and Commander – Challenge to the borders of the sea (2003). In 2008, the aforementioned Luhrmann paid tribute to his homeland with the blockbuster film Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.


Since the 1840s, the Royal Victoria Theater in Sydney and the Melbourne Royal Theater could count on a ballet director and very popular ballets such as The Millers, Cobblers and Taylors, or Polichinelle Vampire were staged. Famous repertoire titles such as La Sylphide or La Fille mal gardée were staged by Italian or English tour companies. In 1889, for the preparation of the Simbad ballet the sailora certain Williamson recruited a dance troupe destined to become the core of the Comic Opera Company with Mary Weir as the prima ballerina. Many famous dancers made their appearance in Australia in the first half of the century. XX. Among others Adeline Genée (1913), Maud Allan (1914), Anna Pavlova (1915) and later Olga Spessivtzeva and Vilzak (1934) and La Meri (1936). After a visit by W. de Basil ‘s Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, some dancers settled on the Australian continent and shortly after the couple of dancers Édouard and Xenia Borovansky opened a school in Melbourne. During the 1930s and 1940s, many foreign companies of name toured Australia, and around the same time the Ballet Contemporain was founded in Adelaide and the Australian Ballet in Melbourne, an expression of the school opened by Édouard and Xenia Borovansky. In addition to the Australian Ballet, there is now the Australian Dance Theater, whose orientation appears more influenced by American modernism, the West Australian Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company. The development of dance in Australia has been influenced, in recent decades, above all by the Anglo-Saxon and especially American tradition, as regards the younger creators. The formation of the company led by Maryl Tankard (1988), already a leading figure in the company of Pina Bausch, marked the start of a certain influence of the European dance theater.

Australia Film, Dance and Ballet

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