This monograph – number 2 in the Moving Image series – was first published in 1993 and has been made available again with a limited release.
Includes screenplay of Shame (Steve Jodrell, 1988) by Beverly Blankenship and Michael Brindley.
An Australian Feminist Social Realist Western
This description captures something of the boldness, originality and vigour of Shame, a major Australian film which has been seriously overlooked, but likely not forgotten by anyone who has seen it. This story of a town’s women fighting back against their local rape culture was scripted by Beverly Blankenship and Michael Brindley, directed in 1987 by Steve Jodrell and stars Deborra-Lee Furness.
This volume presents not only Stephen Crofts’ lucid and comprehensive account of this film, but also its powerful script. Through his analysis of Shame, Crofts reconsiders several key issues in recent film theory. He contributes to work on genre in explicating the different generic inputs into the film – Australian social realise, Western and rape-revenge film – and in examining the gender reversal which produces a woman hero, putting Asta Cadell, the outsider passing through the town, substantially in command of the narrative.
Most distinctive, however, is the study of how viewers identify with film. A film proposing male as well as female identification with its woman hero, and seeking both to reinforce feminist views on rape and to transform masculinist ones, raises vital issues about how the film simultaneously addresses different audience sectors. Crofts elaborates new models of film spectatorship to account for this.
He also examines the film’s treatment of Australian cultural issues, its significance in Australian and world film history, its receptions worldwide and questions of how empirical spectators respond to the film’s intentions.
The analysis and screenplay will be invaluable in teaching courses in film and media studies, filmmaking, gender studies and Australian studies.
Stephen Crofts is Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane. He has held Visiting Fellowships at New York University and London University. He has published extensively in Australia, the USA and the UK. Forthcoming are books on overseas representations of Australia and on Australian cinema from Oxford University Press which centrally address issues of national cinema, post-colonial identity and reception issues. He has worked on the editorial boards of five film and media studies journals, including The Moving Image, Screen and The Australian Journal of Screen Theory. He chairs the Program Committee of the Queensland Cinematheque, and is on its Board.