Wander Lust: Genre, Sexuality and Identity in Ana Kokkinos’s Head On

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Joe Hardwick


While the road movie has long held a privileged place in Australian cinema, less prevalent, though increasingly present, has been the street movie, which—like its road movie cousin—poses important questions about identity in tracing the trajectory of its wanderer protagonists. The most remarkable recent example of an Australian street movie is Ana Kokkinos’s 1997 feature Head On. The film recounts a day in the life of a late adolescent Greek-Australian male who wanders the streets participating in sexual encounters with mainly, though not exclusively, other men. Whereas reviews and articles have generally read the film as a coming out narrative, this article—with reference to Ross Chambers’ theories on digressive narratives in his book Loiterature—will argue that Head On rejects the simplistic teleology of the coming out story in favour of a much more complex understanding of adolescent male sexuality.

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Articles (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Joe Hardwick, University of Queensland

Joe Hardwick is a lecturer in French in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland.  His research interests cover French cinema, literature and cultural studies as well as the French reception of Australian cinema. He was curator for the French New New Wave retrospective at the Australian Cinémathèque, Brisbane, in 2007 and is currently preparing a monograph on wandering protagonists in le jeune cinéma français.