The Castle

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Australia has the terrible condition of having an essentially pointless and prefabricated idea of "Aussiness" that really has no relation to our real culture or the way in which we really see ourselves. We, however subscribe to these stereotypes when trying to find some expression of our Australian identity. The feature film, The Castle, deals with issues about Australian identity in the 1990's. The film uses techniques like camera shots, language and the use of narration to develop conflict between a decent, old fashioned suburban family, the Kerrigans and an unscrupulous corporation called Airlink. Feature films like The Castle are cultural products because they use attitudes, values and stereotypes about what it means to be Australian.

The suburban house, as the film's setting and sphere of action, is extraordinary partly because it is ‘next-door' to an airport. The odd layout of this backyard is underlined because their suburb meets the kind of architectural cast-offs often found at the margins of big cities. This mix of the humble backyard with the international vectors of travel, tourism and international trade plays out in the film's narrative which connects the domestic and the distant. The Castle displays many locations and landscapes easily identified as being unique of Australia- The ‘Aussy' barbeque and patio setup, greyhound racetrack and poolroom, just to name a few. The neighbours of the Kerrigan's are a symbol representing the multicultural diversity of Australia.

The family's loss of authority over domestic space is linked with other struggles over land ownership. Most strikingly, The Castle places the Kerrigan's fight to save their house on the same page as Aboriginal struggles for land rights. The film explicitly creates a relationship between their claim to the suburban house as a sacred site (invested with memories, stories and connections to place). In The Castle, attitudes and values towards belongings has been developed through...
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