The beach has centre place in Australian culture.
We long for it, plan it, live it, holiday on it and cleanse our bodies and sins in it.
Girt by Sea, a 58-minute documentary launch at the Perth Festival this week and to be screened on the ABC on Sunday, February 16, uses home movies and footage from the National Film and Sound Archive to show how the beach used to be and how it has evolved.
It is a love letter to the Australian coast.
Director Shane McNeil says no other nation has so actively sought to identify itself through its connection to the sea and its shoreline.
“Our relationship with the coastline is indelibly linked to the post-Colonial, Australian identity,” he says.
“It is perhaps the most enduring metaphoric boundary by which we have come to define ourselves as inhabitants of this Great Southern Land, and indeed the world.”
From surf lifesavers on Bondi Beach to ship-building in Whyalla, from the coastline of the Great Ocean Road to sandy pilgrimages to Cottesloe, from pearl diving off Broome to Tasmania’s abandoned penal colonies, from Queensland’s unique coral reefs to tearful departures to foreign wars from Fremantle, the changing face of the coast is uncovered.
“We have undertaken to circumnavigate our continent through archival footage and personal memory,” says McNeil. “In that sense, Girt By Sea is truly a collaborative film, belonging to all Australians.”
Girt by Sea was written and directed by Shane McNeil and produced by Heather Croall and Kate Separovich.
See clips here:
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