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Memoria e Ricerca

Film, History and Gallipoli (1981)

di Ian Beckett
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 49 (2015), p. 87

The landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) at ‘Anzac Cove’ at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 became symbolic of a new Australian national identity, and crucial in what has become characterised as the Anzac myth. The myth had it that Australians sacrificed to the incompetence of British military leadership, not least in the attack of Australian Light Horse on the ‘Nek’ on 7 August 1915. The myth is still alive and well. Crucially part of that process was the role of Australian cinema, from the first quasi-documentary in 1915 to Peter Weir’s Gallipoli in 1981. The latter in particular has recast the myth for a new generation. Gallipoli has continued to inspire filmmakers with British, New Zealand and even Turkish productions in more recent years displaying other agendas. The essay examines the cinematic history of the Gallipoli campaign in the context of contrasting myths and realities. Key words: myth; memory; national identity; Gallipoli; historical accuracy; inter-media storytelling.