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    The Last Wave by Peter Weir Essay

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    SOC 118″The Last Wave”-Peter Weir dir. (1977)In the film, The Last Wave, the director is trying to communicate the idea of aculture within a culture or sub culture. The dominant culture in the film is the whitemembers of society living in Australia.

    The subculture in the film is the Aborigines whowere natives to the land before the white people settled in Australia. The nativessustained their cultural beliefs and ideologies while living in largely populated cities. The dominant white culture imposes their laws , ideas of societal values and moralbeliefs on the native Aborigines. Forcing them to abide by a different law system andway of life than what their peoples have practiced for hundreds of years. In the moviethe lawyer, David, represents the dominant culture to the Aborigines because herepresents the law that is controlling their fate in the white culture. The director is also giving us many symbols or visual communication such as theconsistency of water in the film as well as, the overbearing control of darkness.

    The filmis shot in shadows and overall is very dark , almost forcing us to look beyond the obviousplot and storyline and into the meaning or what the film/director is trying to tell us. Thedarkness in the film can be seen as unconsciousness. It can also be seen as a predictionof the darkness that will occur in the world when the last wave comes. The last wavemeaning a giant tidal wave that will cover the earth , killing humanity. This idea issimilar to the Christian belief in the flood that was sent down centuries ago to destroy allthe evil in the world.

    Also, all the modern aspects of the movie (courtroom, David’soffice. . etc) are filmed in light. While, all of the Aborigines’ scenes are filmed in darknessor shadows.

    Giving me the impression of something mysterious or not understood by thewhites concerning the Aborigines. The fact that all the modern scenes are filmed in lightcan also support the idea of the white culture being the predominate culture in the filmbut yet not dominant enough to take away the shadows(mysterious , mystical)aspect ofthe Aborigines. The lawyer, David, Also goes through a series of dreams and premonitions. Thisis stressing the idea of mind power and mystical strength that the Aborigines have. Inthat way they can be seen as the dominant culture. David is stuck between two worlds.

    The world he knows and understands and the other world that he is definitely a part ofbut does not understand. As he tries to grapple with the idea that he may be linked to theAborigines, his own cultural beliefs are changing. He is forming a complex view on life,a combination of ways of viewing the world by both the white Christians and theAborigines. The dream sequences in the film are sometimes difficult to distinguish from thewarped reality that is being portrayed. Overall, they do give us a chance to think andattempt to comprehend what is going through the mind of David.

    For he cannotdistinguish at times what is real and not real. But what is real depends on if you perceiveit as real as an individual. To me, the film is saying that their is a definite cultural conflict between theChristians and the Aborigines living in Australia. Whichever one the viewer perceives asbeing dominant or subdominant, he will perceive the fact that their is a culture clash. The viewer may also see the idea that the Aborigines(tribal) are not understood in whitesociety and David is the only one who can. He is the link between the two worlds, and atthe same time he is the wall separating them.

    Overall, I feel the film was good concerning the ideas behind the storyline. Butdue in part to the director’s fetish for water and darkness, he almost destroys the storylineto me. And without the storyline, you cannot interpret the film in a well structured way. Also, the symbolism is so predominant, it points at the viewers lack of intelligence . Similar to someone repeating themselves while speaking over and over and over andover, merely to stress a point.

    Too bad by that time the point is beyond stressed it isalmost destroyed completely.Category: Music and Movies

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