Sheep and the Australian Cinema
"In this highly readable study of Australian cinema, Deb Verhoeven explores the relationship between a series of films produced in different periods of Australian history that are linked by a common thread—the repeated image of sheep. Verhoeven focuses on two key 'sheep films'- The Squatter's Daughter (Hall, 1933) and Bitter Springs (Smart, 1950). Both movies are concerned with the national project, in which sheep growing and nation building are seamlessly aligned. But Verhoeven artfully demonstrates that it is precisely in their emphasis on textual re-iteration and repetition that the sheep films critique an otherwise ostensibly 'national' vision.
In the process Verhoeven sheds new light on the importance and implication of discourses of originality in the Australian cinema.
'Truthfully I will never see these films in quite the same way again; it is in the best sense a strangely compelling and unsettling book.'—Professor Tom O'Regan, University of Queensland"