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Love is love' : the figurative economy of Tom White
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Warwick Mules
In the opening scenes of the recent Australian film Tom White (Alkinos Tsilimodos, 2004), a middle-aged Anglo-Australian male, Tom White (Colin Friels), suffers a nervous breakdown. Sacked from his job as an architectural draughtsman with a large construction company, angry and disillusioned, Tom leaves his family to wander the streets of inner-city Melbourne, where he meets various other lost souls in a quest to find meaning in his life. Recent commentary has suggested that Tom White is a psychological drama of lost identity wrapped inside a social-realist film about the plight of homeless people in the city.1 The film's focus on Anglo-Australian identity has also attracted critical comment. One reviewer has suggested that the film is irrelevant to today's global culture, 'concerned with nothing more than presenting, often misleadingly, the idea of Australians to Australians'.2 But is this really what this film [is] about? Is Tom White really a psychological realist film about the angst of white Anglo-Australia, a throwback to the 1970s film renaissance where Australian national identity was the subject of intense scrutiny and exploration?