Publication Details

Klocker, N. & Stanes, E. (2013). 'Reel love' across ethnic boundaries? The extent and significance of inter-ethnic intimacy in Australian cinema. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36 (12), 2035-2054.


National cinemas play an important role in the construction of national identities, representing the 'self' to both domestic and international audiences. Evidence of the material impacts of media representations on individuals and society, and the pervasiveness of movie-watching as a cultural activity, underscore the importance of scholarly inquiry into film. Here, we are concerned with how ethnic diversity has been negotiated within the Australian national cinema - specifically at the scale of intimate interpersonal relationships. Our analysis of twenty-five recent Australian films considers how cinema alerts audiences to the possibilities and limitations of love within and across ethnic boundaries. We find cause for modest optimism in regard to the frequency of Australian cinematic representations of inter-ethnic intimacy, although the narrow range of ethnic groups permitted to participate in these encounters, and an apparent reticence to portray marriage, co-habitation and child-bearing across ethnic boundaries, remain cause for concern.



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