Film Studies Speaker Series: Dr Stephen Morgan, Towards a Geologic Cinema in Walkabout
The centrality of landscape has long been a key focus of representations of Australia on screen. But relatively little attention has been paid to what happens when cinema's focus on geological formations moves beyond the purely pictorial or touristic or descriptive. In interrogating the temporal disjunctions at the heart of Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout (1971), this paper seeks to explore its address of landscape via a contextualisation of the relationships and resonances of the film's geological and historical pasts. By reconciling the film's diverse, geographically disparate shooting locations with European and Indigenous understandings of geomorphology, and contrasting that with more recent colonial histories, I aim to uncover the layers of narrative — temporal, geological, and metaphorical — that underpin this iconic vision of the land now known as Australia. In doing so, I seek to articulate the role of geological timescales within the film, and how we might begin to think ‘geologically' about the film and, more broadly, about national cinemas in settler contexts.
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