Saturday 30 September 2023

Australian Film Criticism - Russell Edwards proposes a book on THE FILMS OF PETER WEIR and calls for contributions

Peter Weir

Over several decades, Peter Weir has directed critically acclaimed and popular 
films that frequently portray protagonists on the threshold of an unexplored environment that dazzles and confounds. Yet despite his global profile, Weir’s work remains relatively understudied. Only a handful of books have exclusively addressed his career in toto and only one scholarly volume has been published since his most recent film was released over a decade ago. In a career that can be categorized as having two distinct phases (Australian trailblazer and Hollywood maverick), many of Weir’s films are distinguished by their financial success. 

This run of box office accomplishments was established in Australia with Picnic at

Hanging Rock (1975) and was repeated at the international level several times

during Weir’s extended American excursion with films including Witness (1985);

Dead Poets Society (1989); The Truman Show (1999); and Master and

Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). Working across a range of genres

from early engagement with low-budget horror (Homesdale, 1971, The Cars that

Ate Paris, 1974) and documentary (Whatever Happened to Green Valley?, 1973)

to the epic sweep of his prison escape adventure, The Way Back (2010), there is

throughout Weir’s diverse oeuvre a tangible sense of thematic connection and

authorial voice across his eclectic choices.

Lesser known Peter Weir
Judy Morris, Ivor Kants, The Plumber

This proposed ReFocus edited collection will consider papers on the films of Peter

Weir. Some of the themes that authors can consider are:

• Weir and literary adaptation

• Post-colonialism

• Cross-cultural (mis)communication

• Weir and the Australian Wave

• Weir and Hollywood

• Australian Identity in the international context

• Australians in Hollywood

• Auteurism

• Representation of Women

• Genre

• The Hollywood star in Weir’s films

• Ensemble casts

• Television work

• First nations representation

• Mise-en-scène

• Ecology and environment


• Additional approaches are welcome.

If you have any questions regarding the topics, please feel free to discuss with the

editor. The suggested themes are not exhaustive.

Contact Email:

Deadline for abstracts: March 31st 2024

Proposals of approximately 200-500 words are invited for the proposed project

to be submitted to Edinburgh University Press as part of the Refocus Series on

International Directors. Series editors are Drs. Robert Singer, Stefanie Van de Peer,

and Gary D. Rhodes. The deadline for abstract submission is March 31st, 2024.

Please send your proposals, accompanied by a 100-150 word author “bio”, to

Russell Edwards via Upon approval, accepted

contributors are expected to submit their full chapters of approximately 6,000 to

8,000 words for the refereed anthology, referenced in Chicago endnote style, by

December 31st, 2024.

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