Shifts and Interventions: Cultural Materialism and Australian Film History


This paper seeks to understand a curious moment in Australian film history: the publication of Albert Moran and Tom O’Regan’s “Two Discourses of Australian Film” (1983) which was closely followed by O’Regan’s Occasional paper for Local Consumption publications entitled “Writing on Australian Film History: Some Methodological Comments” from 1984.[1] This moment is curious in that these writings contain criticisms and methodological assertions in a period when little particular film historical work had been undertaken in this country. The attention to theoretical and methodological concerns expressed by O’Regan and Moran feels preliminary given the limited size of Australian film history up to this point. The fervour of the so-called Revival of the early 1970s included a similar enthusiasm in film history and criticism. While the historical work of Joan Long and Sylvia Lawson had been bubbling away since the 1960s, there existed few overarching histories such as Graeme Shirley and Brian Adams’ Australian Cinema and Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper’s Australian Film 1900-1977 fashioned, in the main, from the extensive oral history research undertaken by the authors.[2] National film histories require these larger overreaching works to establish the groundwork but also to mark out absences, both of which draw subsequent researchers to mark out their own fields of endeavour. However, despite this limited amount of film historical work, a field that could be surveyed, these two writings from quite early on in both Moran and O’Regan’s careers make what should be described as self-reflexive and considerable theoretical contributions to film history writing in this country. There are three points that arise here that go some way to explaining where these contributions have their roots; (1) both authors can be seen as products of what was known as the Forms of Communication group or the Griffith School, coming out of Griffith University in Queensland, (2) the notion of influence in the form of the English cinema studies journal Screen and the attendant criticisms of the journal that abounded in this period, (3) these writings can be seen, and were seen by the authors at the time as responses to what they understood to be a traditional kind of film history. The opening line of Moran and O’Regan’s “Two Discourses …” article goes,

This article forms part of a larger investigation of Australian film in its various institutional and historical settings. In inaugurating that task, we seek to challenge the various histories of Australian film that already exist. In particular, we are concerned to call for a different account of Australian film than that already entered into by, variously, Eric Reade, Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, and Ina Bertrand and Diane Collins. Australian film, in these accounts, is a homogenous object and the point of these histories is to offer a teleology of that object, an account of linear growth and development.[3]

Here Moran and O’Regan are writing not only in relation to these histories but to what they perceive to be the relation of those histories to the so-called Revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The immediate question here is, to what extent do these accounts of Australian film cited by Moran and O’Regan offer a teleology of Australian film? This question is important not just to assess the accuracy of Moran and O’Regan’s assertions but to illuminate the questions that concerned Australian film theory at this juncture. What is particularly evident in 1983 is the paucity of Australian film history writing. A closer inspection of the accounts identified by Moran and O’Regan is important. Eric Reade by this time had published four books: Australian Silent Films: A Pictorial History of Silent Films from 1896 to 1929 (1970), Talkies Era: A Pictorial History of Australian Sound Film Making 1930-1960 (1972), The Australian Screen: A Pictorial History of Australian Film Making (1975), and, posthumously, History and Heartburn: The Saga of Australian Film 1896-1978 (1979).[4] All these books are sweeping, highly illustrated works aimed at a general public. Of all the authors that Moran and O’Regan refer to it is Reade’s History and Heartburn which is most interested in locating the so-called Australian film revival as its touchstone. Reade spuriously claims that Picnic at Hanging Rock(1975) “was the first Australian film to earn major recognition internationally, winning the Grand Prix at the 7thFestival of Nations in 1976”.[5]  In chronological order, the book works through a history of Australian feature, documentary, short film and television, including overseas productions. Most of the book maintains an incredulous tone, evaluating each production history or critical response in terms of a struggle for recognition and popularity, almost a disbelief that the films were ever completed. This emphasis relies on an industrial model for Australian cinema with the 1970 intervention of the Federal Government in film funding seen as an (over) welcome response to an obvious need. The chapter on this period is entitled “New Life: The Seventies”.

Pike and Cooper’s names are a curious inclusion in Moran and O’Regan’s list. Their Australian Film 1900-1977 is, as the subtitle asserts, a Guide to Feature Film Production in this country. The book makes no claims to comprehensiveness stating that:

Definitions of ‘feature’ film inevitably vary and our approach has been flexible, bending the definition from period to period to allow us to include films of interest, but we hope that we have provided a survey of one aspect of Australian film, the one best known to the public and of greatest importance to the film industry-the narrative film intended for theatrical screening.[6]

While it is possible to understand Moran and O’Regan’s claim that this book is “an account of linear growth and development” in the Australian film industry marked by the apotheosis of the 1970s, this claim is simply based on the book’s chronological structure. The book, of course has been an invaluable guide for film historians in this and other countries, providing crucial production information upon which subsequent historians have been able to expand.

A more curious inclusion in Moran and O’Regan’s list is Ina Bertrand and Diane Collins whose Government and Film in Australia is a particular history of a crucial concern in any consideration of Australian film history; government involvement with film industry and film communities. Again, while the book is largely chronological, its scope and detailed accounting for moments such as the “lost opportunity” of John Grierson’s visit to Australia[7]  or the controversies and lobbying surrounding the 1963 Vincent Report into television production, make it a more mosaic-like accumulation of historical events under the title of Government and Film in Australia.[8]

Part of the problem for Moran and O’Regan is with the difficulty in locating a teleological project in Australian film history in 1983. This issue can be seen to stem from the infancy of the topic. Australian film history begins as a large unwieldy project where the immediate need is for large mapping surveys which provide the instances of close up histories to which subsequent historians are drawn and from which more particular, pointed and focused projects are determined.

The Working Paper that follows “Two Discourses of Australian Film” is most interested in theorising film historioghraphy. The paper begins:

A study of “Australian film” should not be a single linear history of Australian film, but a series of histories. It should be a series of descriptions of relations between discursive and institutional conditions and the transformations of those conditions. Put another way, writing on “Australian film” would be the complex amalgam of these stories. Stories about strategies: strategies of film production, strategies of investment in film, strategies of exhibition and distribution. Stories about discourses: discourses on film, discourses on Australian culture, discourses on Australian society. Stories about institutions: – governments, film bodies, exhibitors, reviewing. (3)

Of course it is possible to hear in this the echo of Foucauldian discourse analysis. O’Regan quotes from Foucault’s “Questions of Method: An Interview” and Colin Gordon’s “The Subtracting Machine” both from Ideology and Consciousness from 1981 and Jacques Donzelot’s “The Poverty of Political Culture” from a 1979 issue of Ideology and Consciousness.[9] It would be easier at this point to understand O’Regan’s position in relation to Australian film and Australian film history as a response to the influence of post-structural theory; the “arrival” of Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze on the Australian continent. We could position Moran and O’Regan’s writings here amongst other post-structuralist responses to Australian film history and criticism. I’m thinking here of Philip Brophy and Adrian Martin’s wonderfully wild performance at the History and Film Conference in Canberra in 1981 entitled “The Archaeology of Culture”[10]  which, of course, references Foucault but is also a riffing on the “rhizomatic alternatives” available to film history in relation to broader questions of “culture” in Deleuze and Guattari’s “Rhizome” also to be found in Ideology and Consciousness. No. 8 from 1981.[11]  We should remember that Meaghan Morris and Paul Patton’s influential Michel Foucault: Power, Truth, Strategy, was published by Feral Publications in Sydney in 1979 the second in the Working Papers series.

Screen Journal and Forms of Communication – Interventions

To be more specific here Moran and in particular, O’Regan’s work needs to be understood in relation to the British journal Screen and the visits, to Griffith in 1980, of two Screen editorial Board members Paul Willemen and Colin McCabe amongst others. In this period Griffith was an extraordinary hive of intellectual activity in Australian film studies, generated by a very assertive academic culture, enabling visits by people such as Mick Eaton, Mandy Merck, Colin MacCabe, Paul Willemen, Paul Hirst, Barry Hindess and Manuel Alvarado. Alvarado describes Griffith at this time as a “core institution” for film studies. I’m not suggesting here that O’Regan and Moran were simply influenced by Screen, more that the Forms of Communication group which included at various times Tony Bennett, Colin Mercer, Gillian Swanson, Michael Hollington, Nick Zurbrugg, Stephen Garton Mick Counihan, Dugald Williamson, David Saunders, Andrew Tolson, Ian Hunter and O’Regan and Moran had a pedagogical agenda that, for various reasons, sat well with or provided for an acceptance of the ideas that emerged in Screen.

In a recent interview with Noel King, Albert Moran says that Ian Hunter makes this “incredible intervention at Griffith” and attending this there is this kind of Metzian moment in Australian film culture propelled by Hunter, Mick Counihan and later, Sam Rohdie, supported by Meaghan Morris and others interested in French semiotics.[12]  Hunter spells out the tenor of this time and in particular at Griffith. He says,

First there is a kind of hermeneutics operating there coming out of authorship and other studies which relied strongly on a post-structural approach to texts. This was a style of hermeneutics in which aspects of the text are deemed to emerge under conditions in which they are not controlled by the governing intention or the governing code. And that aspect of the text could be labelled different things – pleasure, the unexpected, the aleatory, the surface of the text as opposed to its semantic depth. But the key thing is that these things appear in an unscripted, unexpected manner, and in doing so escape what are held to be formal constraints. This was a style of reading that Screen took up, I guess immediately after it had done structuralist analyses. And maybe what we should now realise is that the two — the structuralist and the ‘excessive’ — were symbiotic from the beginning. That conception of the aleatory dimension of the text or, in other philosophies, of ‘life itself,’ that announces itself unexpectedly, and constitutes a kind of epiphany that lets you get out of the determinations in which you would otherwise be contained: we now know this comes from a particular tradition of philosophy called ‘transcendental phenomenology’, and Husserl is the originator of it and it goes into Heidegger and then into French phenomenology and existentialism.

Second, at Griffith there is also this Foucauldian dimension where the social, political and discursive nature of the institutions is examined. In both these instances the text is only one aspect of the enquiry.[13]

On Screen

To trace this history of ideas better we can turn to O’Regan’s first refereed academic journal article entitled “On Screen” in Intervention from 1981[14] . As the title suggests O’Regan’s writing here is a survey of the British journal Screen but given what I have been writing about Moran and O’Regan’s response to Australian film history, and also where we can follow O’Regan’s work after this, it is possible to see a direct influence of a certain component of the Screen legacy, namely that of Willemen and Claire Johnston and Lesley Stern on the ideas therein. Initially the “On Screen” article surveys the development of the textual system analysis propounded by Christian Metz and taken up by people such as Stephen Heath, Edward Branigan, and others. The focus of O’Regan’s article later shifts to Willemen’s criticism of McCabe’s Screen work and then the emergence in Screen’s criticism of itself through Willemen, Johnston and Stern and externally, from Nicholas Garnham and the editors of Framework.

Film Practice and Criticism

One of the shifts that occurred within the Screen journal was in response to the critical approaches that the journal took to Hollywood film. As O’Regan puts it, “if Hollywood films were politically regressive, then what might a politically progressive film look and sound like”.[15]  These kinds of questions posed a consideration of existing independent and feminist filmmaking alternatives. One of the most significant events in British film culture of this period was the Feminism and Cinema Event held at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1979.[16] This Event, organised by the Editorial Board of Screen, resulted in two articles for the journal: “Feminism and Cinema-Exchanges” by Lesley Stern and “The Subject of Feminist Film Theory/Practice” by Claire Johnston both of which are important for Australian film theory and criticism including O’Regan’s work.[17]  By 1979/80 when her article was published, Stern had arrived from London to take up a position in the Media Centre, before contributing to the setting up of Cinema Studies, at La Trobe University, Melbourne. “The Subject of Feminist Film Theory/Practice” was itself a survey of that event, in particular “not only the question of the relation between feminism and cinema but of the terms of that relation”.[18] Speakers at the Event included Ruby Rich, Laura Mulvey, and Claire Johnston as well as Christine Gledhill whose paper “Recent Developments in Feminist Criticisms” was derived from a previously published article in Quarterly Review of Film Studies.[19] Johnston and Mulvey, according to Stern, understand both theory and practice as components of an ideological struggle (Johnston) and that the demands of women, of “feminist film theorists and film-makers” “can have a determining effect on aesthetics”. Stern draws on all of these writers in formulating her response. For my purposes, it is this question of the relationship between theory and practice, amongst others, that is useful. For Stern:

the simple distinction theory/ practice masks a number of shifting relations. In part it serves to suppress differing political perspectives which are not reducible to a theory/ practice opposition. But there are also problems about what constitutes practice and how it is positioned against theory. In some instances practice means the activity of making films, in others it means that which is not abstract, in others it means political practice as lived experience.[20]

In response to the notion of struggle being the domain of practitioners rather than theorists, Stern measures this divide by proposing that theory should not be understood as a “unitary ‘subject’” but rather that the struggle for theorists should be “to argue for a relevance of theoretical discourse to political analysis outside the boundaries of academia” and that academics find themselves “constantly under attack … involving struggles that extend to course structures, union issues, battles with academic bureaucrats and state bodies”.[21]  In this way Steen extends this notion of practice as it relates to film culture into broader cultural concerns for practical work and its relation to theory. Ultimately this concern was to be considered by Screen itself.

The most immediate question for the journal, and for O’Regan, was, ‘what Screen could practically do and theoretically say about film practices themselves. Where did it stand in relation to the existing independent and feminist film-making alternatives?’[22]  This shift meant a reflection on criticism as ideological struggle. O’Regan writes about what was at stake in the debates about critical practice occurring in Screen:

It was now over how the discourses, institutions, production and exhibition apparatuses and alternative film practices in the cinema/media complex should be accounted for, and, how the critical project of Screen could be articulated within them to be in alignment with them, and to modify them.[23]

One side of the debate was taken by Colin McCabe who, alongside Elizabeth Cowie and Ben Brewster, asserted ideological struggle as requiring theoretical elaboration. The other side was taken by Paul Willemen and Johnston, for whom the social, political and discursive nature of the cinema as institution was essential, for it was this nature which constituted its political direction. “Institutions were considered a site at which discourses circulated in an unstable coherence. Here the debate was about the possibility of intervention and the role of Screen in an ideological struggle over cinema as an institution”.[24]

One way to understand the division between McCabe, Cowie and Brewster and Willemen and Johnston is to look to Willemen’s “Remarks on Screen: Introductory Notes for a History of Screen”.[25] While O’Regan draws on Willemen’s “Notes on Subjectivity – On Reading ‘Subjectivity Under Seige”, a response to Edward Branigan’s “Subjectivity Under Siege – From Fellini’s 8 1/2 to Oshima’s The Story of a Man Who Left his Will on Film”, “Remarks on Screen” is a later and better rumination on the emergence away from textual analysis to the notion of “the theory of cinema as a signifying process”.[26] In this article Willemen attempts to tease out this shift from textual analysis to the discourse of cinema as a process. For Willemen this shift is complex and is not simply a change of editorial policy. He seeks to position the shift within (British) Marxism, education policy and in relation to other discourses such as feminism (such as Gledhill, Stern and Johnston) and independent filmmaking. In doing so Willemen also complicated the apparent divide between theory and practice.

It would be wrong to present or criticise  Screen as if it were an homogenous unit. Screen is a space where discourses intersect, and although that encounter may be organised (temporarily, it is to be hoped) under the auspices of theoreticism, its component discourses and practices link into other institutional spaces, where they are caught up in different configurations and have different effects.[27]

Of course another component of this debate was John Ellis’s contribution in “Art, Culture and Quality” where he proposed that theoretical work, like independent filmmaking, is “capable of furthering and altering cinematic practices”. This contribution can be understood as a reconsideration of the value of criticism, as well as the adequacy of criticism.

Crucial to this debate and to the Australian context was the criticism of Screen that came from the journal Framework was that Screen’s focus on classical narrative cinema meant that, according to O’Regan, there was a perceived ‘tendency’, one of an exclusive concentration upon textual processes (the so-called autonomy of the text fallacy).[28] The criticism from Framework was levelled at Screen as well as Cahiers du cinéma, arguing that:

It is necessary to work within the theoretical models laboriously constructed in the past few years in order not to i) concede ground already conquered for the sake of argumentative short – (cut) circuits, ii) fragment the impact of theoretical analysis on all aspects of cinematic structures as we know them today, iii) to carry on largely ignoring a number of their responsibilities which they must be made to face and share in a broadening of the dialogue between theory and practice.[29]

Framework was calling for “a move beyond the text as an autonomous object to the social conditions of production and reception, and on the other hand a return to the consideration of the relations of production in historical materialism”.[30]

Here Johnston and Stern’s feminist interventions worked alongside Paul Willemen and Framework’s criticism of Screen to produce a considerable shift in thinking about theoreticism in relation to an historical materialist theory of practice. This shift had ramifications for the way that the ongoing theory/practice debate was grounded as well as the role of film history in articulating a (Foucauldian) discursive notion of the cinema institution.[31]

Historical Materialism

It is possible to see in this debate a conglomeration of later Screen’s internal and Framework’s criticisms and the concomitant splits that occurred at the time as well as the post-structuralist ideas that invigorated the Forms of Communication people at Griffith. One way to see this conglomeration is to turn again to Willemen’s ‘Remarks on Screen’ article. Willemen argues that:

The discursive, political and economic factors that provide the conditions of existence for Screen could be written in the form of critical annotations in the margins of Perry Anderson’s Considerations of Western Marxism. In that book, Anderson argues that the contradictory unity (he calls it an organic unity) of theory and practice realised in the classical generation of Marxists before the First World War was increasingly severed in the half-century from 1918 to 1968 in Western Europe.[32]

Willemen goes on to articulate the emergence of a division between theory and practice due to various dramatic shifts such the effects of the Second World War, including Fascism and Stalinism, the Cold War, “Imperial expansion” and the “installation of representative bourgeois democracy in all the main capitalist countries in the aftermath of the Second World War.”[33] This included “the movement of Marxist theory “from economics and politics towards philosophy, and its formal site from party assemblies to academic departments”.[34]  For Anderson and Willemen, in this increased theoreticisation of Marxism, “the original relationship between Marxist theory and proletarian practice was subtly but steadily substituted by a new relationship between Marxist theory and bourgeois theory”.[35]  Despite the various positive influences of Marxist theory on Western culture such as “the development of structuralism as a methodology in France in the sixties”, “the critiques of established modes of enquiry” and most importantly “the production of the concept of “ideology” as a recently rediscovered problem for the cultural struggle”,[36]  the cultural conditions from which the journal emerged and functioned was so fraught with contradictory resonances of Marxist theoretical considerations of practice in relation to theory that there emerged what Willemen calls a “Culturalism” (defined as the ‘over-estimation of the role of ideology’).[37] This “culturalism” is closely related to theoreticism whereby the larger shifts in Western capitalist and, in particular, British culture, for Willemen, provided a conditioning context. The shift into theoreticism, or a disengagement with material reality, became a credible doctrine enabling academics to maintain a radical rhetoric which in no way would interfere with the serious business of careerism”.[38]  In all Willemen calls for a historical materialism in understanding these multifarious moire-like cultural shifts across a number of decades only to invoke the external forces which influenced Screen. He is at pains to avoid a determinist view to explain the changes in the journal, yet for my purposes, this outline is enough to illustrate how Willemen’s approach to the history of Screen, an historical materialist approach, resonates well with that taken by O’Regan, as an Australian, as part of the Forms of Communication group, can formulate the kind of regard he did for Australian film history in the early 1980s in Queensland. It also goes someway to explaining O’Regan’s own intellectual trajectory from this historical moment on.

O’Regan’s Trajectory

In the ‘On Screen’ article O’Regan finishes with this uncanny epiphany stating:

…this screen [lower case] trajectory has been with some modifications my trajectory. I have retracted these moves from the embracing of a scientific project of description to the politicisation of textual processes, to the question of intervention, to institutional analysis … [and finally] … The problem I face is the one I have raised above: how to deal, to live with the fact that I am writing to be aware of institutions and their politics that there is no hope of changing. Is this a project for an informed citizenry? I am not certain. But I find this space of commentary the only viable position to occupy in the present.[39]

There is this weird reflection on this Screen moment where O’Regan seems to understand his position as an academic in Queensland during the Bjelke-Petersen years in relation to what may be idealistic, radical politics of Willemen, Johnston and Stern, and instead accedes to the kind of criticism identified with MacCabe, Brewster, and Cowie. It may be that O’Regan’s criticism coincided with that proposed by Hirst and Hindess whereby ideological struggles in institutions operate to determine and define the grounds of ideological struggle.[40]  Of course Australia and Queensland in the late seventies/early eighties is a very different place to Thatcher’s Britain and in particular the Cinema Institution is markedly different. It seems that for O’Regan, film history is discourse where intervention, critical practice, is needed hence the Writing on Australian Film History working paper. Of course what follows O’Regan’s article, as well as the “Two Discourses” article, “Australian Film Making: Its Public Circulation” and anthology An Australian Film Reader all have an approach to film history which is not teleological, less in the service of the Revival than interventions in a shifting, indefinite, momentary film history. If we take this approach the opening paragraph, cited above, of “Writing on Australian Film History” reads like a description of Australian National Cinema written 14 years later.[41] In sculpting the Australian National Cinema book, O’Regan is less interested in describing what Australian cinema is like but in understanding the discourses at work in this country’s film culture that make it distinct from say, Brazilian, French, Chinese or South African national cinemas.[42] The emphasis on the discursive nature of Australian cinema, including Government policy, criticism, history, nationalism, genres, auteurs and so on can be understood in relation to the post-structuralist approaches had been adopted by the Forms of Communication group at Griffith and the way that Willemen’s articulation of the debates that accompanied Screen in the late 1970s dovetailed with these approaches.[43]  It is also possible to see how these approaches resulted in the ‘call for a different account of Australian film than that already entered into by, variously, Eric Reade, Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, and Ina Bertrand and Diane Collins’.[44] As demonstrated in Australian National Cinema and other key articles in his oeuvre, O’Regan has worked across a number of components of the cinema institution, including economic, political, cultural and historical discourses.[45] In this regard it is possible to see in the criticism of Eric Reade and others a critical assertion whereby the formulation of O’Regan’s (and to a lesser extent Moran) historical materialist methodology (no matter how nascent) that has its latest incarnation not just in O’Regan’s Australian National Cinema but in his more recent work on film studios in Australia.[46] With this theoretical trajectory in mind it is possible to understand O’Regan’s recent work as a theoretical consideration of film production driven by the same kind of need to understand “why does film making look the way it does? What are the conditions under which it is produced? Why does it look this particular way rather than another way?”[47]


[1] Moran, Albert, and Tom O’Regan. “Two Discourses of Australian Film.” Australian Journal of Screen Theory. 15/16 (1983). 163-173.
O’Regan, Tom. “Writing on Australian Film History: Some Methodological Comments” Occasional Paper n. 5, Sydney: local consumption publications, December 1984.
[2]  Pike, Andrew, and Ross Cooper. Australian Film 1900-1977. Melbourne, Oxford university press, 1980.
Shirley, Graeme, and Brian Adams. Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years. Rev. ed. Sydney: Currency-Angus and Robertson, 1989.
[3] Moran, Albert, and Tom O’Regan. “Two Discourses of Australian Film.” Australian Journal of Screen Theory. 15/16 (1983). 163.
[4] Reade, Eric. Australian Silent Films: A Pictorial History 1896-1929. Melbourne, Lansdowne press, 1970.
The Talkies Era: A Pictorial History of Australian Sound Film Making 1930-1960. Melbourne, Lansdowne press, 1972.
The Australian Screen: A Pictorial History of Australian Film Making. Melbourne: Lansdowne press 1975.
History and Heartburn: The Saga of Australian Film 1896-1978. Sydney; Harper & Row. 1979.
Pike, Andrew, and Ross Cooper. Australian Film 1900-1977. Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 1980.
Bertrand, Ina and Diane Collins. Government and Film in Australia. Sydney, Currency Press/Australian Film Institute. 1981.
[5] Reade, Eric. History and Heartburn: The Saga of Australian Film 1896-1978. Sydney; Harper & Row. 1979. Jacket inner sleeve. For one, The Back of Beyond won the Grand Prix Assoluto at the 1954 Venice Biennale Film Festival.
[6] Pike and Cooper. Vii.
[7] Bertrand and Collins, 97-98.
[8] Bertrand and Collins, 124-143.
[9] Michel Foucault. “Questions of Method: An Interview with Michel Foucault”. Trans. Colin Gordon. Ideology and Consciousness. Power and Desire Diagrams of the Social. 8 (Spring 1981): 3-14.
Colin Gordon. “The Substracting Machine” Ideology and Consciousness. 8 (Spring 1981): 22-40.
Jacques Donzelot. “The Poverty of Political Culture.” Ideology and Consciousness. 5 (Spring 1979): 73-86.
[10] Philip Brophy and Adrian Martin. “The Archaeology of Culture: or How to Say Everything at Once”. Cantrill’s Filmnotes. 37/38 (April 1982): 44-53.
[11]  “Rhizome.” Trans. Paul Foss and Paul Patton. Ideology and Consciousness. Power and Desire Diagrams of the Social. 8 (Spring 1981): 49-71.
[12]  Moran, Albert. Interview. Noel King. Brisbane, 13 June 2008.
[13] Ian Hunter. ‘Another Way of Being an Intellectual’: Interview with Noel King, Brisbane, 9th November 2007.
[14] “On Screen.” Intervention. 15 (1981): 44-62.
[15]  “On Screen.” Intervention. 15 (1981): 50.
[16] The involvement of the Screen editorial board in the Edinburgh Film Festival also included organising screenings and presentations. The two most significant of these were the Brecht and Cinema and Feminism and Cinema events. See Screen 16:4 (1975/76) for the proceedings of the Brecht event.
[17] Lesley Stern. “Feminism and Cinema-Exchanges” Screen. 20. 3/4 (1979/80) 90-105.
Claire Johnstone “The Subject of Feminist Film Theory/Practice” Screen. 21. 2 (1980): 27-24.
[18] Stern. Op. Cit. 89.
[19] Christine Gledhill. “Recent Developments in Feminist Criticism” Quarterly Review of Film Studies. 3.4 (Fall 1978): 457-493.
[20] Stern Op. Cit. 104.
[21]  Stern Op. Cit. 104.
[22]  O’Regan Op. Cit. 50.
[23] O’Regan Op. Cit. 52.
[24] Op. Cit 53. O’Regan tells us of the significance of the formation of the [British] Independent Film Makers Association in 1974 in this regard “where the definition of film-maker had been expanded to include critics, as producers of film meaning”. Op. Cit. 51.
[25] Paul Willemen. “Remarks on Screen: Introductory Notes for a History of Screen.” Southern Review. 15.1 (1982): 80-91. In this article Willemen thanks Noel King “for his work in preparing these notes for publication. The article is also probably the published version of what O’Regan references as ‘Adrift on a Sea of Discursiveness’, an unpublished manuscript that Willemen would have delivered as a lecture on Screen at Griffith University in October 1980. See O’Regan Op. Cit. note 36, page 59.
[26] Willemen “Remarks on Screen” Op. Cit. 295.
[27] Willemen “Remarks on Screen” Op. Cit. 296.
[28]  O’Regan Op. Cit. 56.
[29]  “Editorial” Framework: A Film Journal. 10 (1979): 2.
[30] O’Regan Op. Cit. 56.
[31] O’Regan also cites Nicholas Garnham’s ‘Contribution to a Political Economy of Mass Communication’ Media, Culture and Society. 1.2 (1979): 123-146. O’Regan writes, ‘Garnham saw Screen as conducting an ‘essentially idealist, indeed Platonist problematic’. This problematic was ‘an idiocy’ which evacuated the field of historical materialism despite its materialist rhetoric. Garnham proposed that the activities of corporations be looked at in the cultural sphere. Recalling Dallas Smyth the Frankfurt School and others, he argued for a coherent effort to understand the process known as the industrialisation of culture. In fact Garnham doesn’t mention Screen but is directing his criticism at a “post-Althusserian position, popular within film studies”. (131.)
[32] Willemen ‘Remarks on Screen’ Op. Cit. 298.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Perry Anderson quoted in Willemen Op. Cit. 298.
[35] Ibid.
[36] Ibid. 299.
[37] Ibid. 302.
[38] Ibid.
[39] O’Regan Op. Cit. 62.
[40] Hindess, Barry and Paul Hirst. Mode of Production and Social Formation: An Auto-critique of Pre-capitalist Modes of Production. London, Macmillan, 1977.
[41] O’Regan, Tom. Australian National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.
[42] In the Routledge series, Lisa Shaw, Stephanie Dennison. Brazilian National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.
Susan Hayward. French National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.
Yingjin Zhang. Chinese National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.
Jacqueline Maingard. South African National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 2007
[43] See my review of Australian National Cinema in Metro. 111. (1997): 81-82.
[44] Moran and O’Regan. “Two Discourses of Australian Cinema” Op. Cit. 163.
[45] See ‘The politics of Import Culture: Ocker and the Tariff Board.’ Australian Journal of Cultural Studies. 3.1 (1985): 72-88.
‘Starstructure’ (with Stuart Cunningham) Filmnews. (March, 1983): 12-13.
‘A Fine Cultural Romance: The 1970s Feature Film.’ Australian Journal of Cultural Studies. 17/18 (1986): 5-33.
‘Australian Film in the 1950s.’ Continuum. 1.1 (1987): 1-25.
[46] See Ben Goldsmith and Tom O’Regan. Cinema Cities, Media Cities: The Contemporary International Studio Complex. Woolloomooloo. NSW, Australian film commission. 2003. and Ben Goldsmith and Tom O’Regan. The Film Studio: Film Production in the Global Economy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
[47] O’Regan, Tom. Personal interview. Deane Williams. University of Queensland 31/10/’09.

Created on: Monday, 21 December 2009

About the Author

Deane Williams

About the Author

Deane Williams

Deane Williams is Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. His books include Australian Post-War Documentary Film: An Arc of Mirrors (2008), Michael Winterbottom (with Brian McFarlane, 2009) and the three-volume Australian Film Theory and Criticism (co-edited with Noel King and Constantine Verevis, 2013–2017).View all posts by Deane Williams →