Australian films

The film industry determines the way we view our films. Australian films often backup the idea of the ‘Aussie battler/hero’. A battler/hero is known as someone who fights for what they believe in, their country, their heritage, their family, friends, dignity and pride. A battler’s job is to protect and hold onto what they are fighting for, whether it is for the good or for the bad. The Aussie Battler is known for being a working class citizen who commits there heart and soul into their work, land, culture and family.

Many Australian films explore the concept of ‘Overcoming Adversity’ and explore into the idea of the ‘Aussie Battler/hero’. Wonderful examples of films that directly look into this idea of the ‘Aussie Battler/hero’, is Ned Kelly (2003) and The Castle (1997). Ned Kelly is a film based in the 70’s/80s about a group of young men, Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger), Joseph Byrne (Orlando Bloom), Dan Kelly (Laurence Kinlan) and Steve Hart (Philip Barantini), also known as ‘the Kelly gang’, fighting to preserve their heritage and remain true to their family.

The director of Ned Kelly ‘Gregor Jordan’ has contributed the idea of how overcoming adversity can be problematic and difficult, but can also change society. The Castle a film directed by Rob Sitch is about a man, Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton) facing the authority because he believes in fighting for his right to not lose everything he has worked for, for unnecessary government requests. The film industry determines the way people view films. Australian films often backup the idea of the ‘Aussie Battler’.

An Aussie battler is referred to as someone who fights for what they believe in, their country their heritage, family, friends, dignity and pride. A battlers job is to protect and hold onto what they believe is worth fighting for, whether is is for good or bad. The Aussie battler is known to be a working class citizen who commits their sweat, blood and time into their work, land, culture and family. Many Australian films explore into the concept of ‘overcoming adversity’, and look deeply into the understanding the idea of the ‘Aussie battler’.

Wonderful examples of films that directly look into this concept of the ‘Aussie Battler’ is ‘Ned Kelly’ (2003) and ‘The Castle’ (1997). ‘Ned Kelly’ is a Film based in 1880’s about a group of men (Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger), Joseph Byrne (Orlando Bloom), Dan Kelly (Laurence Kinlan) and Steve Hart (Philip Barantini), also known as ‘The Kelly Gang’. The gang’s objective is to fight, preserve their heritage and change how the authority treats the Irish. The director of ‘Ned Kelly’, ‘Gregor Jordan’ has contributed the idea of how overcoming diversity can be problematic and difficult, but can also change society’s views and ways. The Castle’, a film directed by ‘Rob Sitch’, is about a man, ‘Darryl Kerrigan’ (Michael Caton) facing the authority because he believes in fighting for his right to not lose something that is a big part of his life and something he has worked for his whole life. The events that arise in both films revolving around the characters, reiterate this idea of ‘Overcoming Adversity’ and the ‘Aussie Battler/hero’ is emerged through a variety of techniques incorporated from their respective directors. In the first scene of Ned Kelly he is portrayed as a great contribution to society by saving his class mates life from drowning in a river.

He received a green hero’s sash. Another scene that also really shows Ned as a battler is where he is chasing one of the authorities through the bushes. Ned shoots the authority multiple times and once he finally stops Ned tells him ‘he would not have shot if he hadn’t kept running’; he also tried to stop him from bleeding but in the end couldn’t and was forced to put a bullet through his heart. A scene where Ned’s image is turned around is where he steals the horse and gets caught from the authority; Ned loses it and threatens the authority which then lands him in jail and from this point on Ned falls into the role of ‘The Aussie Battler’.

Ned Kelly belongs to an Irish heritage that immigrated to Australia for a better life, but not realizing what laid ahead for them they were pushed low down in society and struggled to keep an income. The Kelly’s were given a piece of land by the selectors where they were allowed to grow their own crops, producing their own food and founder animals for income. The authorities in Ned Kelly were self-centred and, self-indulged. The way the authority treated the Irish was different to how they treated their own. That’s where the Kelly Gang and the authority differed.

Ned was pleasant to everyone he came across, he didn’t chose to harm them, gave them respect and the rights they deserved wether they were his own people or not. The events that arise in both films revolving around the two main character ‘Ned Kelly’ and ‘Darryl Kerrigan’, reiterate this idea of ‘overcoming adversity’ and the ‘Aussie battler’ is emerged through a variety of different techniques that have been incorporated by their respective directors’. In a scene towards the start of the film that shows Ned as a battler is where he is hunting a policeman through the bush lands because he ran.

Ned finally guns down the policeman and finds the man lying on the ground in immense pain. Ned tells the policeman ‘he would not have shot him if he had not run’. This scene shows the battler side of Ned because further on in this scene Ned is forced to kill the policeman because there was nothing he could do to save him. The Castle is a classic Australian film the stereotypes the Aussie image but also conveys the message that Australians are tough and fight for right. The Kerrigan family is an admirable representation of the average Australian family. They are tight-knit, willing to help and passionate about sticking together as a family.

There is a scene that particularly shows off the characteristics of a battler/ fighter within the castle. This scene is were Darryl is at his court hearing. When the Jury goes on break, Darryl sends out his message to his lawyer who then uses what he says in his debate. By Darryl really expression his true emotions, they win. Darryl Kerrigan resembles the typical Australian father. Although his family isn’t well off and don’t particularly live in a great spot (beside an airport), its home, it all comes from the heart. Darryl is a battler; he supports everyone’s opinions but in the end makes his decisions based upon his beliefs.

He doesn’t particularly have a high status in society with him working as a tow truck driver but still manages to stay positive because he doesn’t care what people think of him, he’s a proud Australian. He works and fights for the things he needs and can appeal to ones emotions. He uses his power to battle against the bad to win the good. The directors of both Ned Kelly and The Castle have incorporated a variety of different cinematic techniques that make both films memorable in their own manner. Techniques that come under the branch are Setting, Dialogue, and Costuming, Camera angles and movement and sound.

Ned Kelly desires the affect for its audience to become entangled within the films story line and to do this the film must include a range of different and somewhat unusual techniques to gather attention. The setting for Ned Kelly is rather stereotypical to the era the film is set in. Most scenes where the Kelly gang do major work is set on the authority’s side. This is the brighter, more classic, rich side, whereas most other scenes such as fighting and war is done in the bushlands, outback where the Kelly’s feel safe and indulged in their own culture. The lighting in Ned Kelly is very much so leaned to low key lighting.

If you notice high key lighting comes into play when the Kelly’s are in the authority’s territory and low key lighting for the rest. The dialogue used in Ned Kelly is very traditional and formal. The authority take on a different role in there dialogue as they used different words, words that come off more offensive and cruel. Costuming is also another very outmoded label. The Kelly’s customarily wore old, scrawny, filthy unwashed clothes. They also were mostly seen in dark long pants and jackets, not a lot of skin was shown which contributed to the aspects of low key lighting.

The outcast side of people had scrawny hair, beards and were dressed in dirty clothing. Whereas the upper-class side were dressed in clean cut, brighter coloured clothing that resembled there place in society. In both Ned Kelly and the Castle similar camera angles and movements were used. High Angles where used to show power i. e. the authority standing over Ned making him look weaker and more vulnerable. Particularly towards the start of both films you notice low angles and high angles being used to show authority, but as the films progressed you start to notice the change in angles and where the cameras are positioned.

Throughout both films you will notice an establishing shot being used at the start of most scenes followed by either a close up or mid shot, depending wether the scene was to include dialogue where then they would need a close up or just a mid-shot. There were many cuts during dialogue which also showed great importance in what the characters were saying. The castle resembled typical Australian dress standards for that time (Flannelettes, Jeans and bowl cuts). The Authority seemed to be dressed in smart clothing the reminded you of control and responsibility.

Dialogue in The Castle was stereotypically an Australian accent. The slang, the way the words are slurred and how the pronunciations of words are carried out. The authority defiantly takes on another type of channel of communication, they talk more proper, formal and tend to shorten their words to sound like they aren’t slurring. The setting in the castle is bright and cheerful. It creates a friendly environment that also shows a real Australian household. They do this by creating a rundown house, not much money and living right next to an airport. The lighting the frames this film is high key.

Even when darkness controls the time of the scene light still manages to be the key element to the shots. Both films show and encourage messages about Australia in two completely different but similar ways. Ned Kelly shows a message that stealing is wrong and fighting is not the answer, but fighting for what you believe in, fighting for the right to not let others contradict your life is ok. On the other hand the message about The Castle is exactly the same but carried out differently. The castle shows the fact that Australians are not very materialistic and in general are quite simplistic and positive.

Both films also conveyed the message that family is important and supporting that idea of love and trust is what makes life worth living for. Ned Kelly chose reveal the idea of using violence, crime and death to portray its message, whereas The Castle did not. The Castle showed its message through family values, gratitude and reverence. Both of these films had the authority against them, they stuck together and became united as one. By the end of both films we were left with the feeling of knowing and understanding how both families’ fought together.

If one was going down they were all going down. What was also so great about these two films is that we could watch them grow from battlers into heroes. Ultimately both films were devised to create a sense of understanding about the Australian culture. For certain message and concepts to be conveyed a range of different techniques had to be used, from characterization, to cinematography. The plots direction leaded to the audience grasping different emotions and challenged the audience to experience a film unlike most modern productions.