Transnational utopias: Baz Luhrmann and Australian cinema
Transnational Cinemas, 1, (1), . (doi:10.1386/trac.1.1.23/1).
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Drawing on original research conducted in Australia, I explore the industrial context, collaborative working practices, transnational ethos and aesthetic of Australian film-maker Baz Luhrmann’s Sydney-based independent production company Bazmark Inq. I trace the potential and limitations inherent in Bazmark’s relationship with major Hollywood studio Twentieth Century Fox, covering issues of copyright, branding and artistic autonomy. I look at the way structural developments, new technologies and the re-emergence of popular art cinema have allowed directors such as Luhrmann to cross over into mainstream territory while operating from a small-scale artisanal base. My argument is that Luhrmann and his team actively engage with digital technologies and the complexities of global media production and consumption to give value and visibility to Australia as a local centre for creative endeavour. This is achieved by projecting utopian visions of their set-up, working methods and output as arenas of cultural innovation. While these practices may not cohere into an ideal, they make a significant contribution to debates about national identity and visibility in contemporary global film culture
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