One of the interesting things about Australia’s history is that the nation was originally a colony of Great Britain. Over time they slowly acquired their independence without war or any kind of revolution, which is rare when looking through the past of many countries like the United States, Brazil and many other places. Although this might be seen as a good thing, the lack of a battle caused the nation’s identity to be pretty much nonexistent the following years after they were already considered their own nation.
The movie Gallipoli illustrates how the World War I was important in helping Australia find their identity and create a sense of patriotism. Australian moviemaking had its highs and lows through the Twentieth Century. After the 1970’s, a new age of Australian films started to flow from the country and “historical films became the most visible internationally” (Bordwell 628). Gallipoli was a film made in 1981 by Peter Weir.
The movie not only tells the story of two young men from Australia going to the war, but at also attempts to portray the Australian identity that many Australians had sought for many years.
One of these identities is the mateship where today Australia is known. We can see that in the movie just by following the two main characters through their journey. Frank and Archy meet and suddenly they are best friends. Together, they move forward in the story and help each other to achieve common goals.
When Frank joins the light horse because he finally reunites with Archy, his other “mates” get upset and do not approve of the fact that they are losing a friend. When they are reunited in the war zone, they are happy that they are together again. This goes on to display the whole idea of war and patriotism. The movie is also very clear when trying to show the several landscapes that Australia has to offer. We see the city, where the shots are not so wide so all the buildings are closer together giving an overcrowded feeling while in contrast we see the countryside where the viewer sees vast deserts.
Right at the beginning where Archy is betting to race with one of the character, we see the desert and how it stretches for miles and miles, while racing he still goes through trees and a stream exposing the diversity one can find in Australia. There are also shots of mountains, those shots are very wide and portray the grandiosity of the country. We also see the relationship of Australians and the Indians represented by Archy’s friend from his hometown. In the movie we also see how joining the British to go to the war was a way of supporting
Australia, reinforcing their patriotism and defending their country. One of the character says that the reason they area going to join the British in Turkey, is because “if we don’t stop them there, they will end up here” (Gallipoli 1981). The young men going to the war were happy that they were able to fight for the country. After they arrive at the beach in Gallipoli, we see them having fun, even though they are at a war zone and their lives are on the line. When they finally get to fight, we hear them shouting that they are doing this for Australia.
Towards the end of the movie we see pride and dignity contrasting with and the suffering of being at the war. World War I was important in helping Australian creating their identity. The movie Gallipoli not only explores how the World War I was responsible in creating the Australian identity but also explore other national that today are a representation of that country, like of example the idea of mateship that today is worldwide know to be part of the Australian culture.
The viewer also sees the richness of the Australian landscape like the cities, the countryside, and the nature with mountains, deserts, forests and rivers. The movie also shows how the war was important in enforcing their patriotism for their country by showing the young men going to war as happy as they can be, proud that they are able to fight for their country. It is ironic to see how Australia had a pacific independence however they were only able to find their identity after they went to fight in a war.