Australian Film Archive Now Available

Oh dear, I’m terrible at watching movies in this country, and now I’m going to try to cover a resource from Down Under. Here goes… Australian Screen, at , covers Australia’s movie heritage. The site has over 1500 clips from other 500 films and television shows.

You can do a keyword search (by title or by full description) or click on the Titles in the nav bar to get a page of browsable information. Here you can browse moving pictures by genre or category (newsreels, ads, short features, documentaries, etc.) or you can go to a page with indigenous content links.

I know nothing about AU movies, so I started by browsing feature films. 103 titles were listed with a default alphabetical sorting (you can also sort them by year.) The listings have a screen capture, title, year of production, and small summary. The titles also have their own pages, which contain larger descriptions, curator’s notes, credits, and information on title availability. On the right of the title pages are video clips. The ones I looked at were generally a couple of minutes long. Each title has tags as well. Some of the pictures have location maps — Google Maps that show filming locations, etc.

The descriptions were interesting but I found the curator’s notes fascinating — they put each item into a historical perspective. The deconstruction of Crocodile Dundee — a movie I really didn’t want to mention because I didn’t want to look like I was picking on Australia — was fascinating. I had no idea this Saturday matinee I enjoyed over twenty years ago was actually such a complex — and controversial — cultural statement.

In addition to the film information, Australian Screen also has a Educational section, which groups all the films which have teachers’ notes (along with warnings about films with possibly-inappropriate content.) There’s also a timeline, and a directory of people involved in the Australian moving-picture industry. A great read.

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