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Screening Anzac: Anzac-themed television in Australia and New Zealand during the First World War Centenary

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2020, 00:00 authored by Carolyn HolbrookCarolyn Holbrook
Historians have long sought to compare Australian and New Zealand Anzac commemoration, finding that Australian commemoration tends to be more nationalistic and celebratory, while New Zealand’s is more solemn and inclusive of Māori, women’s and pacifist perspectives. This article examines war commemoration in Australia and New Zealand during the centenary of the First World War through the medium of four Anzac-themed television productions: Australia’s Gallipoli and The Power of Ten and New Zealand’s When We Go to War and Field Punishment No. 1. Due to their capacity to attract mass audiences, television and film are useful mediums for elucidating major cultural trends, including the changing nature of war commemoration and its relationship to ideals of nationhood. In particular, the article argues that the coexistence of myth-challenging representations in Australia with productions that reinforce the traditional Anzac legend reflects a longstanding tension between supporters of the state-sanctioned nationalist trope and its critics in artistic and academic communities; alternatively, the less controversial nature of the Anzac legend in New Zealand helps account for the more prosaic tone of some of its Anzac-themed television.

History

Journal

Journal of Australian studies

Volume

44

Issue

4

Season

Issue 4: Visual Representation and Memory of the First World War in Australasia

Pagination

440 - 456

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1444-3058

eISSN

1835-6419

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal