Cultural Identity

Topics: Nicole Kidman, Baz Luhrmann, Culture Pages: 4 (1262 words) Published: November 27, 2013
“Representation; refers to the way people, events, issues or subjects are presented in a text. The term implies that texts are not mirrors of the real world – they are constructions of ‘reality’. These constructions can be shaped through the writer’s use of conventions and techniques.”1

Cultural identity; “the identity of a group, culture or individual as far as one is influenced by one’s belonging to a group or culture.”2

The epic drama Australia, (2008), by award-winning director Baz Luhrmann, is the second highest grossing film in Australia’s history. Australia is set during the Second World War. A context and time different from ours and therefore one, which allows for an examination of cultural identity and those values, beliefs and attitudes which we as a nation have, normalized and some of which we have challenged. The setting allows cultural beliefs to be exaggerated and also contradictory to the majority of today’s beliefs, therefore creating a larger response from the viewer. These cultural beliefs – representations of the time – are both challenged and normalized throughout the film. This includes the belief that Australia was a typical wild-west nation and the cultural attitude that the indigenous race was inferior. These beliefs are fundamentally raised through the use of various writer’s filmic techniques. These techniques used by Luhrmann include the use of dialogue, symbolism, camera lengths and repetition. It is through these techniques that Luhrmann raises various cultural beliefs throughout the film.

A significant cultural belief that is represented in the film Australia is the attitude that Australia was viewed as a mysterious and often Wild West nation. This representation is strongly normalized throughout the film. Luhrmann uses filmic techniques including the use of dialogue, camera angles and scenery to portray this cultural identity. “But Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), its Australia,” says her butler (Peter Gwynne). Through...
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