Region, like gender, is a form of difference. (Whitlock 1994, 71)
The many spectacles of places shown in Australian cinema are typically assimilated to all of Australia in terms of its difference from non-Australian places. The regional histories and participation in production and poetics of narrative are submerged, typified by a view of the region as the space of the ‘nation writ small’ (Moran 2001, 2). This book brings a magnifying glass to a selection of films either wholly or partly made in Queensland in a period, from the 1970s to the present, during which Queensland has come to the fore in Australia as a place of film production. The four sections of this book suggest its emergence from passive participant in an era when the hegemony of national cinema was unquestioned, to a competitive presence in the present transnational environment of film production.
The expansion of film production infrastructure in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia corresponds to the increasing transnationalism of the international industry. Cross-border film production is now regarded as normal (Goldsmith and O'Regan 2008), and this reflects trends in the de-nationalising of film and television as the effects of globalisation (O'Regan and Potter 2013).
Within this era of change, debate about Australian national cinema has persisted, and questions are asked as much about what is ‘subsume[d]’ by the ‘national cinema’ (Khoo, Smaill and Yue 2015, 8), as much as what is revealed of or about the place of Australia. Various approaches have highlighted the inherently ‘international’ character of Australian cinema (O'Regan 1996; Danks and Verevis 2010; Goldsmith 2010) or its ‘transnational’ scope (Goldsmith, Ward and O'Regan 2010; Khoo et al. 2015). Some investigate the inner cultural diversity of films that represent Australia (Simpson, Murawska and Lambert 2009), and speculate on the post-national connotations (Craven 2010; Khoo 2011a). The aim in this book is to pose the idea of region as a source of cinematic identity, and to examine how location affects a film's meaning.
Region, however, is not posed in the sense of regionalism, or distinct cultural practices or traditions, or the specific cultural geographies of diasporic identities. It is treated as a geographic construct, as the spaces and places ‘outside the dominant metropolitan centres’ (Khoo 2011b, 462).