Reconfiguring rusticity: feminizing Australian cinema's country towns

Catherine Simpson

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Country towns in Australian cinema are commonly seen in opposition to a fixed, imagined urban normalcy. The first part of this paper discusses the urban/rural dialectic in the construction of rusticity. The second section examines the role women play in the rustic sphere. The last decade has seen a feminizing of the country town in films made predominantly by female directors such as Radiance (Rachel Perkins, 1998), Somersault (Cate Shortland, 2004) and The Oyster Farmer (Anna Reeves, 2005). The final part of this paper focuses on two break-through films from the mid-1990s, also from female creative teams, which signal a significant shift in the portrayal of women's subjectivity and agency in country towns: Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett, 1996) and Road to Nhill (Sue Brooks, 1997). Although these films do not challenge the stereotype of country towns as ‘irrelievably dull’, their surreal lensing and black comic tone, I suggest, reconfigure rusticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-59
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Australasian Cinema
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Australian Cinema
  • Country towns
  • Female filmmakers


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