Empathy, Emotion, and Environment in Alternative Australian Landscape Cinema: The Case of Rabbit-Proof Fence

In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society

Abstract

The article aims to complement contextual analyses of the political, ideological and commercial uses of natural environments in Australian landscape cinema by exploring from a cognitive perspective exactly how such environments are foregrounded in ways that affect viewers’ emotional relationships to both characters and the environments themselves. Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) serves as an example of a film that aims for a realistic portrayal of the physical hardship of the Australian outback, while also using that cinematic environment strategically to reinforce viewers’ emotional attachment to its young heroines and, ultimately, to push a political argument that runs counter to the conservative national ideology that informs much of traditional Australian landscape cinema.

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