20 essential Australian films?
Any list of must-watch films is likely to be so arbitrary and subjective that it buys plenty of arguments, and so it proves with the Taste of Cinema website’s compilation on Australian cinema.
Its selection of 20 Essential Australian Films You Need To Watch overlooks many classics and more than a few stand-outs of the past 30 years.
Writer Liam Clark, a film/literature/music student in Sydney, acknowledges the first-ever feature length film was The Story Of The Kelly Gang in 1906. He then observes, “Since then, antipodean auteurs of the screen have been weaving their imagerial visions into challenging portraits of Outback Australia, racism, crime and hauntingly beautiful stories.”
The list omits everything produced before 1971 and there are some questionable choices.
His Essential 20: Strictly Ballroom (1992), Sweetie (1989), Mad Max (1979), Gallipoli (1981), Muriel’s Wedding (1994), Lantana (2001), Snowtown (2011), The Dish (2000), Candy (2006), Dogs in Space (1986), Somersault (2004), Shine (1986), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), Wake in Fright (1971), Samson & Delilah (2009), The Hunter (2011), Animal Kingdom (2010), Walkabout (1971), Last Ride (2009), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975).
As the runners up he nominates Breaker Morant, The Tree, My Brilliant Career, Sleeping Beauty, Mystery Road, Balibo, Wolf Creek, The Proposition, The Last Wave, Ten Canoes, The Loved Ones, Chopper, Bad Boy Bubby, Blessed, Beautiful Kate, The Castle, Noise, Romper Stomper and Two Hands.
So, no room for Newsfront, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Sunday, Too Far Away, Bliss, Caddie, Careful, He Might Hear You, Crocodile Dundee, The Devil’s Playground, The F.J. Holden, The Getting of Wisdom, Storm Boy and numerous other fine films and documentaries.
Predictably the list prompted some derisive comments on the website and Facebook. “Total rubbish,” said Deborah Parsons.
Perhaps the most apt comment is from Michael Favelle of Odin’s Eye Entertainment: “I think most of these lists deliberately throw in a few stupid choices just to get people talking about them.”