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Mapping Cinematic Norths

International Interpretations in Film and Television


Edited By Julia Dobson and Jonathan Rayner

Mapping Cinematic Norths presents an international range of research and enquiry into the significance, representation and manipulation of depictions of the ‘North’ in cinema and television. Northern landscapes, soundscapes, characters and narratives are defined and recognized as distinctive image-spaces within film and television. However, the ‘North’ is portrayed, exploited and interpreted in divergent ways by filmmakers and film audiences worldwide, and this volume sheds new light on these varying perspectives.

Bringing together the work of established and emerging academics as well as practising filmmakers, this collection offers new critical insights into the coalescence of North-ness on screen, exploring examples from Britain, Scandinavia, continental Europe, Australia and the United States. With contextual consideration and close readings, these essays investigate concepts of the North on film from generic, national, aesthetic, theoretical, institutional and archival perspectives, charting and challenging the representations and preconceptions of the idea of North-ness across cultural and cinematic heritages.

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The Cinematic Northern Territory of Australia



Here is a passionate and prolific earth never tamed and trimmed to small designs of man; … a sixth of Australia … a State, and one of the greatest in its own geographical right – 523,620 square miles from under Capricorn to the Timor Sea … Someone is always discovering the Territory, its colour and beauty, infinite resources, boundless wealth, ‘forever piping songs forever new’ […] What is the truth of this changeling child of ours? Is it a paradise or hell, milk and honey or Dead Sea fruit? Has it a transcendent future or only a pitiful past? Is it true, as the American serviceman said, that in colonising Australia we ‘began at the wrong end’ or, to use the cynical old phrase you hear so often up there, shall we ‘hand it back to the blacks with apologies’?1

This paper examines the filmic representation of the Northern Territory of Australia, through a consideration of the narratives, settings and locations used to depict this distinctive region within Australian cinema. The Northern Territory (frequently referred to simply as ‘The Territory’) is arguably the most remote and under-populated region of Australia, not just in the opinion of outsiders but from the perspective of Australians themselves. The Territory’s capital Darwin, for example, is over 1,900 miles from Sydney. Where Melbourne and Sydney both boast populations of over four million, Darwin’s is barely more than 130,000, and the entire Northern Territory accounts for just over 1 per...

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