Lights, camera ... Australians!
The Bowie knife brandished by Paul Hogan in the Croc Dundee blockbusters and the white dress worn by a gushing Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding are just two iconic items among many to go on display in a major new exhibition charting the global impact of homegrown cinema from Mad Max to now.
Australians & Hollywood: A Tale of Craft, Talent and Ambition is careful to cast its net wide, showcasing the behind-the-scenes work of designers, cinematographers and editors, among others, as well as the above-the-title actors who carry a movie and those who direct them.
Two years in the planning, it is the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's first self-devised show in 20 years.
"Our film industry is punching above its weight internationally and it's an important move for us to share some of our collection in an exhibition we've curated ourselves," curator Tara Marynowsky says ahead of Friday's opening in Canberra.
Visitors enter the exhibition space along a red carpet and past a grid of glowing screens, recalling a media wall at a premiere.
Featuring 77 moving image and sound components spread across dozens of digital monitors and projections, the show is complemented by key costumes, props and memorabilia from films such as Moulin Rouge!, Somersault, Animal Kingdom and The Sapphires.
The Evil Cat and a Singing Mouse from Babe even make an appearance.
"George Miller has been super-nice to loan us these special items from his own collection," Marynowsky says of the furry lifelike models.
Miller's vision and daring loom large in the exhibition, which begins with a section devoted to the Mad Max director.
"We have three customised steering wheels from Mad Max: Fury Road as well as a head costume worn by Tom Hardy," Marynowsky says, pointing to an image of the actor strapped to the front of a car from the 2015 reboot.
The next space, Adam Arkapaw and the New 'New' Wave, showcases the noted cinematographer and winner of two Primetime Emmys for Top of the Lake (2013) and True Detective (2014).
Arkapaw also lensed David Michod's Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom and, more recently, The King, as well as Justin Kurzel's harrowing Snowtown.
From there, it's a quick shoe-shuffle to Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and their collaborators.
In this room one finds the slinky red gown Nicole Kidman wore playing the role of legendary showgirl Satine in Moulin Rouge! along with Luhrmann's production notebooks and personal diaries, and more can-can costumes than you can shake a leg at.
Next, Nicole Kidman and Her Contemporaries acknowledges the star power of actors whose careers have gone, well, stellar, with nods to Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Toni Collette and Russell Crowe among others.
Finally, trailblazing First Nations directors Rachel Parkins and Warwick Thornton are honoured in a room including a three-screen video essay about Thornton, also an acclaimed cinematographer, produced by Garuwa Creative.
Emile Sherman, one of three producers who took home an Oscar for best film for The King's Speech, has loaned his statuette to the exhibition, as has Steve Courtley, who won in the visual effects category for The Matrix.
A favourite section of Marynowsky's is that devoted to the late costume designer Norma Moriceau, who fashioned wardrobes for characters in films as diverse as Newsfront, Crocodile Dundee I and II, Dead Calm, Patriot Games and Babe: Pig in the City.
"She also designed the costumes for Mad Max II and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, so she took it to the next level," Marynowsky says, pointing to the designer's sketchbooks and a series of Polaroids.
"You can see her testing out various costumes in these photos."
An interactive element allows visitors to collect animated GIFs on their phones as they move through the exhibition space on two 'journeys' - one focused on directors, the other on designers.
"You even get a digital show-bag at the end," Marynowsky teases.
Two years in the making, the exhibition draws heavily on the institution's trove of footage, photography and objects, which numbers three million.
"As curators, we marvel over things in the collection and think, wouldn't it be great if everyone could enjoy them?" Marynowsky says.
"So it's pretty exciting to be able to showcase footage, photos and objects that people never get to see."
Archive CEO Patrick McIntyre says he wants Australians to be inspired and invigorated by our contemporary cinematic stories.
"This show is filled with memorable, shared experiences of our homegrown storytellers," he says.
"Film has the ability to connect us as humans."
Australians & Hollywood runs until July 17. The National Film and Sound Archive is screening all four Mad Max films this weekend. For further details, go to nfsa.gov.au
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