The Film Week in the ACF

Report of Australian Film Week

held as part of the first Australian Cultural Festival

by the

Centre for Australian Studies, LNNU.

Reported by Ron Lambert

Arriving in Dalian, I was impressed by the warm greetings of my hosts and the strong commitment of the Centre’s staff to share Australian culture with the community of LNNU.

Although I missed Amy, which was shown on Monday before I arrived, I was fortunate enough to share four films with the LNNU audience. These were: Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit Proof Fence, Australia, and Gallipoli.

These movies are recent works in the body of Australian cinema. They have had much popular acclaim in Australia and throughout the English speaking world. Crocodile Dundee and Australia are love stories and both were successful at the box office.

To help aid my hosts in developing their understanding of the meaning of Australian movies, I worked with Professor Leng Hui and a number of Masters’ students from the School of Foreign Languages. We developed learning material for viewers of the Australian films. This involved studying English language material on the internet about the films, discussing this with the students and then working with them to develop PPT guides to assist film viewers better understand the films.

The students were a pleasure to work with, formulating insightful questions to provoke the thinking of their fellow students.

Rabbit Proof Fence deals with a period of Australian history many people in Australia find it hard to discuss with people outside of Australia. Rabbit Proof Fence is about the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families by white governments and officials.

The four movies on the program documented the Australian ‘outback’ landscape, capturing something of its awe inspiring beauty and grandeur. This period of Australian cinema tells the story of the outback landscape well and each of the four works touched on the issues of Aboriginal relations with white Australia. Of the four works we discussed, Rabbit Proof Fence touched my soul in its truthful telling of the story of ”The Stolen Generations”, as the removed Aboriginal children have come to be known in Australia.

The fourth film we shared is one of my all time favorites in Australian cinema: Gallipoli. This is the story of the invasion by British and Australian troops of the far away land of Turkey in 1915, at the height of the Imperial First World War (WWI). Its representation of life for rural people in Australia at that time, and its strong anti-war theme display an Australian artist, Peter Weir, at the peak of his creative powers. Gallipoli explores male culture and Australians going out into the world, without resorting to over simplification.

At the end of each of the four films, I answered questions from the floor after giving a brief talk about each work.

The audience asked me some penetrating questions about the nature of race relations in my home country. Hopefully, my answers helped build a better understanding of Australian culture in terms I hope the students could understand.

During the Australian Film week I developed a stronger feeling for my home country and was led to reflect further on the story of our nation. I learned, too that people in China are very passionate about increasing their knowledge of Australia and our culture.

Prof Leng Hui is explaining the background of the film before the show.

Students are listening attentively.

Mr Ron Lambert is making a brief introduction of the film before the show.

Mr Ron Lambert is answering students' questions after the show.

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