Girlhood in Australian Films?

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been looking at movies that deal with girlhood in one way or another as part of my thesis. It got me thinking about how much of the discourse around this area is centred on the USA (and, within that, as mentioned in Hentges’ book, white, hetero, middle class, and so on). It’s understandable considering how American films tend to dominate the mainstream and many of the authors I have found are, themselves, American. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at girlhood in Australian cinema. Some films that immediately came to mind included: Picnic at Hanging Rock, Looking for Alibrandi, Starstruck, Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger, Travelling Light, Somersault, Caterpillar Wish, Sleeping Beauty, Muriel’s Wedding and possibly aspects of Strictly Ballroom and The Sapphires.

Pia Miranda in Looking for Alibrandi, 2000

Pia Miranda in Looking for Alibrandi, 2000

I thought I might write a series of posts about some of these films – instead of all of them, together, because that would be an incredibly long post – and how they fit into what I’ve read on girlhood in cinema. In all honesty, I tend to get ideas like this and then lose steam so my interest may wane but then it may come back. I haven’t done any research into what other people may have written either on the topic in general, or on these films specifically, so if anyone has any suggested reading before I go off on my own search that’d be ace. Also, is this kind of thing something others would want to read?

Abbie Cornish in Somersault, 2004

Abbie Cornish in Somersault, 2004

I’ve rather lost direction with this blog – though, to be honest, I’ve never been very certain of it from the beginning – so maybe I need to refocus myself and this idea relates to my thesis so it could help me keep on track with that, as well.


Also, for anyone interested in an Australian run feminist film zine then I suggest checking out Filmme Fatales, ASAP!


2 thoughts on “Girlhood in Australian Films?

  1. Hi, thanks for the film recommendations. I love Picnic at Hanging Rock, some new ones to track down.
    I’d definitely like to hear more of your thoughts on this. As you say the films covering this area are very geared to a specific experience so I think viewers tend to have to find personality similarities to connect to a way of life that does not directly reflect their own. In The Broken Hearts Club they refer to which characters they would be equate to in Steel Magnolias or St Elmo’s Fire and one character muses on how there is no film equivalent for gay men and you feel that this is the writer dealing with his frustration at this. I love the sound of your thesis and hope to hear more about the things you discover and muse upon during your research and writing. Good luck with it 🙂

    • Sorry to take so long to reply! Anyway, no worries – hope you can find them and, if you do, you enjoy them 😀
      Thank-you! Hopefully I end up following through with this and, if I don’t immediately, maybe one day I will. Thanks again 🙂

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