Main Article Content
Film in Australia, as with many other nations, is often seen as an important cultural medium where national stories about belonging and identity can be (re)produced in pleasurable and, at times, complicated ways. One such film is Ray Lawrence’s Lantana. Although striking a chord in Australia as a good film about ‘ basically good people’, people that rang ‘brilliantly’ true (Lantana DVD 2002), this paper argues that, at the same time as it produces a fantasy of a ‘good’ Australia, the film also conducts a regulation of what constitutes Australianness. In many ways the imaginary of Australia offered in this film, to its contemporary, urban, professional and intellectual elite audience, still draws on and (re)produces a vision of an Australian community that uses the same narrative frameworks of protection and control as the cruder discourses of ‘white Australia’ offered to an earlier generation of cinema-goers. This film’s central motif of the lantana bush, the out of control weed, that is known as both foreign and local is here emblematic of tensions about belonging, place and otherness. Yet while, within the film’s knowingly reflexive purview any remaining potential for racism is understood and itself under control – we know how to be good mutliculturalists –it is the trope of sexuality in Lantana that provides the real sense of edginess and anxiety about belonging. It is in this arena that the film sets up an idea of danger and –less self-consciously, and in the end more aggressively – marks out who is and who is not part of the community. In this context the motif of lantana signals an ambivalence about difference and the exotic. Lantana is both desirable because of the difference in its attractive Latin looks and repulsive or feared because of other qualities inherent within its difference: a refusal to behave and a propensity to get out-of control, spread and potentially take over. The film here explores desire for a taste of the other (a gay man, a newly separated woman, a Latin dance teacher). However, these fantasies are in the end emphatically shut down as the film ends by producing a vision of subtly normalised hetero, mono, familial (though not necessarily happy) forms of desiring, loving and reproducing in contemporary Australia.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who submit articles to this journal from 31st March 2014 for publication, agree to the following terms:
a) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share and adapt the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Open Access Citation Advantage Service). Where authors include such a work in an institutional repository or on their website (ie. a copy of a work which has been published in a UTS ePRESS journal, or a pre-print or post-print version of that work), we request that they include a statement that acknowledges the UTS ePRESS publication including the name of the journal, the volume number and a web-link to the journal item.
d) Authors should be aware that the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License permits readers to share (copy and redistribute the work in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the work) for any purpose, even commercially, provided they also give appropriate credit to the work, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. They may do these things in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests you or your publisher endorses their use.
For Volume 10 No 2 (2013) and before, the following copyright applied:
Authors submitting a paper to UTSePress publications agree to assign a limited license to UTSePress if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows UTSePress to publish a manuscript in a given issue. Articles published by UTSePress are protected by copyright which is retained by the authors who assert their moral rights. Authors control translation and reproduction rights to their works published by UTSePress. UTSePress publications are copyright and all rights are reserved worldwide. Downloads of specific portions of them are permitted for personal use only, not for commercial use or resale. Permissions to reprint or use any materials should be directed to UTSePress via the journal's main editor, Dr Paul Allatson [firstname.lastname@example.org]. It is a condition of reprint permission that both UTSePress and PORTAL are acknowledged in the format advised by the journal editor.