Video Essay: David Gulpilil, settler cinema, and the Indigenous body

Coronavirus has somehow allowed me to avoid conference presentations for over a year now, whilst also opening up the opportunity to attend online versions of conferences I’ve never been able to attend in person (such as the SSAAANZ conference back in December).

The theme of this year’s online BAFTSS conference – ‘time and the body’ – got me pondering ‘bodies’ in Australian cinema, and how the body politic of national cinema has shifted since the film revival of the 1970s. The result is a ten minute video essay entitled David Gulpilil, settler cinema, and the Indigenous body, below, which is really just a sketch towards some recent thinking about Australia’s settler cinema/s, and the potential problems of absorbing Indigenous cinema (and Indigenous bodies) within a national-cultural framework that still actively excludes (or harms) First Nations communities and individuals.

At this year’s conference – hosted by the University of Southampton – I’ll be discussing the video essay, and some of these ideas, in Session F, Panel 1 – ‘Postcoloniality and Indigeneity’ – on Thursday April 8, alongside my fellow panellists Patrick Adamson and Paul Janman.

Further information on this year’s BAFTSS conference (April 7-9), including registration details, can be found on the association’s website.

Free Online Talk: Ealing Down Under, 17 March 2021

On 17 March 2021, I’ll be delivering a free online talk, introducing Ealing Studios’ Australian venture, as part of an excellent series of public events organised by Westminster Libraries. My talk comes a couple of weeks after Jenny Stewart on Ealing’s depictions of post-war London, and there are also talks from Jose Arroyo on Burt Lancaster, Mark Glancy on Hitchcock and Grant, and many more still to be announced.

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The Tyranny of (Social) Distance: Virtual Film Clubs and Coping with Covid

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Watching, and chatting about, The Sapphires as part of To(S)D #5

In lieu of the 2019/20 Menzies Screening Series – which was due to commence in late March, but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 epidemic – a small cohort of academics, researchers, and friends of the Menzies Australia Institute have been holding a virtual film club, every Tuesday. What started as a casual way to keep in touch early in lockdown has developed into a weekly link to the world beyond our (often) home-bound bubbles. Just prior to the first ‘screening’, we dubbed it the Tyranny of (Social) Distance Film Club; a nod to (and none-too-subtle bastardisation of) that famous phrase, popularised by controversial Australian historian (and History Warrior), Geoffrey Blainey. The ‘Tyranny of Distance’ was a notion that sought to articulate the particular character imposed on Australia by its distance from Europe, and it seemed an apt name for an Australian film club that takes place online, whilst we are all physically distant from our friends, family, and colleagues.

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POSTPONED: Menzies Screening Series 2019/20

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UPDATE 12/05/2020: For obvious reasons, this year’s Menzies Screenings were all cancelled, and the series postponed. All things going well, I hope to be able to present an extended version of this themed screening series at the Menzies Australia Institute in 2020/21.

Delayed slightly by a hefty first term workload (and two bouts of UCU strike action), I’m pleased to announce that the Menzies Screening Series is returning to the Menzies Australia Institute at King’s College London for a trio of events in early 2020.

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CANCELLED: The Sentimental Bloke in Scotland!

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UPDATE 12/05/2020: For obvious reasons, this year’s Hippodrome Silent Film Festival was postponed to October. Sadly, this has also been cancelled, but I hope to be able to organise a belated centenary screening of the film in London at some point in the future.

On Friday March 20, I will be introducing a very special screening of Australia’s finest silent film, The Sentimental Bloke (1919), at the brilliant Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest) in Bo’ness, Scotland. Based on CJ Dennis’ vivid, colloquial verse about the lives and loves of working class folk, the film is the product of a brief but fruitful partnership between Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell.

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Any Questions?

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In conversation with Martin Thomas and Béatrice Bijon, co-directors of Etched in Bone

In the midst of a very busy last six months or so (including spending last term teaching five modules across three institutions, AND working a part time job!), I had the distinct pleasure of hosting Q&As after a couple of brilliant documentary screenings.

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Slam: Screening Round-up

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Last Saturday, it was my distinct privilege to host the UK premiere of Slam (Partho Sen-Gupta, 2018) in my capacity as Co-Programmer for the London Australian Film Society.

Slam is undoubtedly a confronting film, but it is also a very important one in the contemporary climate, and one that I was admittedly a little nervous about screening. Thankfully, audience reactions, both to the film, and to the interesting and illuminating panel discussion that followed, were overwhelmingly positive.

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SLAM (2018) – UK Premiere – Aug 10 at Regent St Cinema

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I’m really excited to be hosting the UK premiere of Partho Sen-Gupta’s stunning SLAM (2018) with the London Australian Film Society. The screening – at Regent Street Cinema on the afternoon of August 10 – is presented in collaboration with The Riz Test, and with the support of the Menzies Australia Institute.

The feature will be preceded by a screening of short poetry film Borders (Shagufta K Iqbal / Elizabeth Mizon, 2017, and will include a post-screening panel discussion involving media commentators, scholars, and activists discussing a range of issues, from screen representation to the broader contexts of Islamophobia in Australia and Britain.

I will be chairing the panel, with guests including Shaf Choudry (The Riz Test), Dr Aurelien Mondon (University of Bath), and Shagufta K Iqbal (The Yoniverse).

More info can be found on the LAFS website, and tickets can be booked directly via Regent Street Cinema.

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