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Useful Notes / Australian New Wave

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The Australian New Wave describes a resurgence of Australian cinema which caught global attention. It began in the early part of The '70s and lasted until the late part of The '80s. Walkabout, Wake in Fright, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Mad Max, Gallipoli and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior are some of the most famous films from this movement. Many of the films have made it into lists such as The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, and 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

The Australian film industry declined after World War II, coming to a virtual stop by the early 1960s. The governments of John Gorton (196871) and Gough Whitlam (197275) intervened to save the industry. The federal and several state governments established bodies to assist with the funding of film production and the training of filmmakers through the Australian Film Television and Radio School, which fostered a new generation of Australian filmmakers able to bring their visions to the screen. The 1970s saw a huge renaissance of the Australian film industry; nearly 400 films were produced between 1970 and 1985, more than had been made in the history of the Australian film industry.

In contrast to pre-New Wave films, New Wave films are often viewed as fresh and creative, possessing "a vitality, a love of open spaces and a propensity for sudden violence and languorous sexuality". The "straight-ahead narrative style" of many Australian New Wave films reminded American audiences of "the Hollywood-maverick period of the late 1960s and early '70s that had just about run its course".

Because this increased funding came hard on the heels of the relaxation of formerly rather prudish laws regarding what could and couldn't be depicted in film, the 1970s also became a golden age of sex comedies in Australian cinema. Together, all these trends are often referred to as 'Ozploitation', an Australian take on the Exploitation Film genre, first emerged. The 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood is a history of this era.

No relation to Men at Work, the Australian New Wave band.

Films associated with this movement include: