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Looking to the future: Three tendencies in Australian science fiction cinema since 2008
chapterposted on 29.09.2021, 00:58 by Andrew CouzensAndrew Couzens
Science fiction cinema in Australia has historically been under-represented in both scholarship and production. One reason for this is that Australian films containing science fiction elements are hybrids, straddling the boundaries between other genres and nations. Nevertheless, the last decade has seen the emergence of a consistent body of science fiction works in Australia. This chapter surveys the aesthetic and production trends of these films that in part result from new technologies disrupting established screen production and distribution models. The chapter argues that three tendencies in particular demonstrate an emerging interest in developing the genre locally, mapping these tendencies to the three ‘fascinations’ J.P. Telotte considers characteristic of the genre: (1) forces external to human experience; (2) speculative visions of future society; and (3) technological or other transformations to individuals. The first of these is reflected in a selection of plot-driven science fiction films that focus on a horror or action narrative. These focus on developing long-term sustainable production businesses using genre cinema. The second group of science fiction productions provide a speculative glimpse of societal collapse in post-apocalyptic scenarios. The final group of films are a body of science fiction dramas that use time travel or similar narratives to examine the psyche or relationships of a specific character. These three tendencies indicate that science fiction cinema in Australia is emerging as a consistent and sustainable production framework.