Lantana Characters and context
<ul><li>The narrative is organised around four couples (or once were and would-be couples).  </li></ul><ul><li>Each of the...
<ul><li>This subtitle appears on the cover of the video version of the film available in Australia. The DVD cover replaces...
<ul><li>Only Jane’s fertile neighbours, Paula (Daniela Farinacci) and Nick D’Amato (Vince Colosimo), impoverished, and per...
Context <ul><li>The film represents Australia as democratic, thoughtful, multi- ethnic, multi-sexual, and multi-class. Thi...
<ul><li>The search for passion, encouraged through a flirtation with an unknown is also dangerous. As the eponymous plant ...
Nature and society <ul><li>Lantana represents the two issues of natural desires and failed communications through its symb...
<ul><li>In the opening scene of the film, nature is emphasized through the image of lantana and the magnified sounds of ci...
<ul><li>Lantana links these two scenes of sex and death by representing nature as a destabilizing force in society.  </li>...
<ul><li>If Lantana's opening is about nature and society in conflict, it is also about nature and society being inseparabl...
<ul><li>Through the movement of the camera, we are told that society and nature are closely entwined. We cannot deny our n...
<ul><li>The second time we see lantana in the film is when the camera rises above a lantana bush to reveal suburban houses...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Lantana

1,983 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,983
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
56
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
22
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Lantana

  1. 1. Lantana Characters and context
  2. 2. <ul><li>The narrative is organised around four couples (or once were and would-be couples). </li></ul><ul><li>Each of the couples is linked via the initially mysterious body of a woman held within the spines of lantana growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Each couple is positioned in a different stage in their relationship. The professional couple of psychiatrist Valerie Somers (Barbara Herschey) and John Knox (Geoffrey Rush), a Dean of Law, has lapsed into a quasi-Platonic set of routine arrangements since the murder of their daughter, Eleanor, as they commute without communicating between the city centre and their Northern Beaches architect- designed home. </li></ul><ul><li>Leon (Anthony LaPaglia) and Sonya Zat (Kerry Armstrong), an Inner West police family complete with two sensitive teenage boys, are menaced throughout the film by a potentially terminal breakdown in trust, </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>This subtitle appears on the cover of the video version of the film available in Australia. The DVD cover replaces these words with an approximation of a phrase spoken by the character of John, “sometimes love is not enough”. </li></ul><ul><li>Jane O’May (Rachael Blake), and Sonya keeps secret her therapy sessions with Valerie. Major renovations are required, of the same order as the home improvements which their bijou terrace is undergoing. </li></ul><ul><li>In less salubrious streets, Jane is already apart from her easygoing husband, Pete (Glen Robbins), showing little interest in getting back together with him—she wants her too tight wedding ring to be ‘cut off’. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Only Jane’s fertile neighbours, Paula (Daniela Farinacci) and Nick D’Amato (Vince Colosimo), impoverished, and perhaps the only characters clearly positioned with the film as ‘ethnic’, share an emotional and physical togetherness which, although tested by potential infidelity and lack of trust, contrasts with the sedate affection of the more ‘anglo’ couples. </li></ul><ul><li>Each couple is required to fend off a creeping malaise of lovelessness, and the risks of isolation that the failure of heterosexual coupledom may bring. </li></ul><ul><li>On the fringes of these dyads, Claudia Weis (Leah Purcell), Leon’s trusty detective sidekick, is moving steadily towards coupledom as she plots her moves on a man she sees often in the same restaurant, while Patrick Phelan (Peter Phelps), a gay man having an affair with a married man, who is in therapy with Valerie, is set up as a potential threat to marital rejuvenation. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Context <ul><li>The film represents Australia as democratic, thoughtful, multi- ethnic, multi-sexual, and multi-class. This is most obviously demonstrated by the ensemble cast who are a cross section of Sydney population—gay, straight, ‘white’, ‘ethnic’, ‘black’, professional, trade, married, single, and separated. </li></ul><ul><li>The landscape of the film also traverses the different economic and social locales of Sydney mapping the diversity of the Australian economic, social and cultural landscape. </li></ul><ul><li>The trope of lantana—an introduced ‘weed’ and an everyday suburban feature of the landscape— becomes axiomatic of this new Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>The subtly uneasy status of the plant as both local and exotic, as everyday and as something to be eradicated underscores a certain uneasiness with which this new Australia is understood. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The search for passion, encouraged through a flirtation with an unknown is also dangerous. As the eponymous plant signifies there is the problem of what do with the exotic after its introduction. Lantana is a film that seeks to demonstrate the tangled and often choking effects of relationships. In doing so it draws on discourses that have long underpinned ideas of Australianness—ideas of an ‘Other’ who when taken into the home, threatens to take over and destroy it. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Nature and society <ul><li>Lantana represents the two issues of natural desires and failed communications through its symbolic play on images of nature and communication technology respectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Ray Lawrence's 2001 film Lantana, social order and the family unit are threatened because of two intertwined issues. </li></ul><ul><li>- The first threat to society and the family in Lantana is when people act upon their own natural, physical desires to the detriment of the wider social order. </li></ul><ul><li>- The second threat to society is a failure by people in relationships to communicate directly and physically with one another. </li></ul><ul><li>As the film demonstrates, it is this failure to communicate `naturally' that often leads to an acting </li></ul><ul><li>Lantana begins by establishing strong visual links between nature and social disorder. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>In the opening scene of the film, nature is emphasized through the image of lantana and the magnified sounds of cicadas. </li></ul><ul><li>Nature is then linked to danger and disorder when the camera probes inside the lantana bush to reveal a woman's body lying in a haphazard state. The arbitrary power of nature is contrasted with the planned and structured world of human society as represented by the dead woman's smart, professional attire. </li></ul><ul><li>The next scene reveals a couple, Leon (Anthony LaPaglia) and Jane (Rachael Blake), in the act of sex. This act of nature is posed as a threat to the social order when it is revealed that both of the participants are married to other people. By following their natural instincts, these people are breaking the codes of a society that disapproves of infidelity for its detrimental effects on marriage and family. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Lantana links these two scenes of sex and death by representing nature as a destabilizing force in society. </li></ul><ul><li>-In the first scene, a woman's body is framed by nature (the lantana bush) in a way that suggests that she died randomly and without warning. </li></ul><ul><li>-In the second scene, Leon and Jane's act of sex is followed by a moment of social awkwardness when the two characters stand on opposite sides of the bed and Jane looks for the missing earring that her estranged husband gave her. </li></ul><ul><li>In both scenes, nature undermines the smooth and controlled workings of society by introducing an element of disorder and uncertainty. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>If Lantana's opening is about nature and society in conflict, it is also about nature and society being inseparable. </li></ul><ul><li>When the camera slowly moves inside the lantana bush, the transition from `outside' to `inside' is fluid rather than jarring. The camera smoothly explores the lantana bush just as it smoothly explores the body that is hidden beneath its surface. The woman's body is revealed in a gradual, almost sensual manner. The camera first depicts a foot before slowly exposing the rest of the body. By depicting the dead woman in the same way as it depicts nature, the film suggests a correlation between the two. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Through the movement of the camera, we are told that society and nature are closely entwined. We cannot deny our natural urges, even as they threaten the workings of society. We must, therefore, seek to `manage' nature in order to function effectively as social beings. Too close for comfort </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout Lantana, the natural world is shown to encroach, both visually and symbolically, upon the world of civilization and order. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The second time we see lantana in the film is when the camera rises above a lantana bush to reveal suburban houses nearby. The threat that nature poses to society is now clearly highlighted as we can see exactly how close the lantana is to the houses. </li></ul><ul><li>If the opening image of the body in the bush showed how we can never escape the random hand of nature, the shot of the houses behind the lantana is a further reminder that civilization is always on the brink of succumbing to natural dangers such as those represented by physical human desires. </li></ul>

×