With so much spectacular scenery, Australia is a perfect place to visit on the big screen. The vast open expanses and endless coastlines make any film set here a visual inspiration for the traveller. Whether you’re watching as an armchair traveller or in preparation for a trip here are a some of my favourite depictions of Australia on screen.
Australia and Strictly Ballroom
Love him or hate him, no list of Australian films would be complete without something by Baz Luhrmann. Australia, his fourth picture celebrating his country of origin may seem like the perfect example; A film about Australia, set in Australia, called Australia. This film does very much celebrate the raw and natural landscape of Australia. Set on a cattle ranch outside of Darwin, this film depicts that kind of remote living where forgetting the milk at the supermarket is not an option.
In contrast Strictly Ballroom is set in the very much populated part of Australia and showcases a small corner of Australian culture, albeit quite a niche one.
Rabbit Proof Fence
Australia’s political and social history has been rocky, particularly in regards to the white invasion and the treatment of its indigenous population. It is important therefore to be aware of this, about what has happened in the recent past and how that is reflected in the present day situation. This film tells an important story about ‘the stolen generation’ in Australia as it follows three girls who walk the 1500 miles across Australia back to their home.
The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of The Desert
Now a huge cult classic, this film tells the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman as they travel from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus they have named Priscilla. The films shows the various people and attitudes they meet on their journey and in particular the hostility and aggression receive from the more rural parts of the country, highlighting the huge range in thought over this vast place.
Melbourne’s answer to The Godfather, Animal Kingdom tells the story of a criminal family as they are accused and later acquitted of killing two cops. The film shows a more gritty and brutal side to Australia’s city life, free from images of kangaroos and palm trees.
In 1977 Robyn Davidson decided to walk the 1700 miles from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with her dog and four camels for company because, why not? The film depicts the dramatic Australian desert which covers much of the centre and ends with the crystal clear blue waters off Western Australia. As there is little action or conversation in the film the landscape takes centre stage and is represented beautifully.
One to avoid before a trip to Australia……
The story of three backpackers who were chased down by a serial killer whilst driving through the Australian outback is perhaps not what you want to accompany your road trip.