Tasmania: Australia’s Cinematic Landscape of Loss

Steven Allen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the chapter "Tasmania: Australia's Cinematic Landscape of Loss," Steven Allen analyzes three films, Dying Breed (Jody Dwyer, 2008), The Hunter (Daniel Nettheim, 2012) and Van Diemen’s Land (Jonathan auf der Heide, 2009), which depict quests for the extinct Thylacine (aka the Tasmanian Tiger) and the nineteenth-century escape of cannibal convict Alexander Pearce. Allen argues that these films' visual and aural representation of wilderness serves as a celebration of what has been saved, while the narratives explore a cultural landscape of loss. Tasmania’s landscape has been a battleground of competing claims since British colonization and beyond. The folkloric returns of past traumas, such as the officially extinct status of the Thylacine (the last specimen died in captivity in 1936) compounded by reported sightings of the animal up until today, serve as means to process a landscape defined by loss. The films facilitate a hypothetical yearning in conversation with the historical record by exploring folkloric elements in relation to a land apparently screened off from the rest of the world. In this manner, the films process contemporary tensions regarding meanings and values attached to place. Drawing on a cultural and ecocritical understanding of Tasmania, Allen points out that Tasmania more recently has become a popular destination for nature-based tourism and ecotourism because of its pristine isolation, and its cinematic depiction in the past ten years has portrayed a series of (re)discoveries of the primordial landscape as protagonists travel through a land defined by loss and separation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNarratives of Place in Literature and Film
EditorsSteven Allen, Kirsten Møllegaard
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781351013833
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies


  • Tasmania
  • Cinema
  • Film
  • Landscape
  • Narrative
  • The Hunter
  • Dying Breed
  • Van Diemen's Land
  • Ecocriticism

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