Ever since 1896, when French Lumiere agent Marius Sestier exposed the first foot of motion picture film in Sydney, Australian cinema has maintained a global perspective. From the imported American directors of the silent area, to the Australian Ealing films of the 1940s and ’50s and through to the co-productions and locally-shot studio blockbusters of today – not to mention the many iterations of the ‘Gum-Leaf Mafia’ – Australian cinema has occupied an intriguing position in the global film marketplace.
With that in mind, I present The Far Paradise, a mildly academic blog about Australian cinema from a British perspective. Except that’s not strictly true. I am, in fact, an ex-pat Australian living in London and the son of British (mostly Scottish) parents. Sometimes I feel Australian and sometimes I feel British, but I’m always obsessed with film and – despite being many thousands of miles away – I have an unwavering interest in the past and present fortunes of the Australian film industry.
Thus, this blog aims to explore themes around the vague concept that is ‘Australian cinema’ from the perspective of someone living in London. Occasionally it will focus specifically on films that are in British cinemas, or showing on British television, but it will just as often look at events in Australia itself: new production announcements, the prospects of local films on the Australian market, restoration or research projects, Australian film festivals, etc.
The name of the blog – The Far Paradise – is borrowed from an Australian film of the late 1920s by the inimitable McDonagh sisters. The name was chosen partly to reflect on the notion of writing about Australian cinema from afar (as well as serving my own mild obsession with silent cinema), but also to act as a reminder that, despite continual suggestions to the contrary, Australia possesses a long and illustrious film history, full of great characters, great stories and – most importantly – great films.
Thanks for reading.