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sagiXsagi

Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities (questions on ozzie particularities)

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I suppose all ozzies must know the real crime series Underbelly. 

 

I finished watching the 2nd season of Underbelly yesterday, which focuses on the period between 1976 and 1987 and taking place mostly in NSW and VICTORIA. 

 

As well as being a cool crime drama series, this series shows the cultural differences and especially the different levels of police corruption among other things between the 2 states.  It also had me stopping and looking at the map of australia and reading about the climate in said states to better understand the story. Yes I am that kind of guy. If I like what I see, I might stop what I am watching to check for historical, geographical  etc refences that are part of the plot and evem to check for unknown words and colloquialisms sometimes.

 

One cant help but wondering: why was that, that such differences existed back then and propably still exists between the two states?  does this come with a difference in political culture also?  Was victoria more conservative ?  I understand that this is common in federal states, and for people seasoned with american cinema and TV series  the state a story takes place is often part of the story, either as cinematography/climate or as culture.  

 

Why was NSW the capital of pot in australia?? Was it the corruption or its a more libertarian state than say, Victoria? How does it link with the 'hippy' and post-hippy  counter-culture?

 

I consider it particularly interesting to see about the differences within a nation and reasons that might explain the differences:  even in non federal states, different regions have their own particularities. 

 

In my mind this is part of the journey of exploring australia films. Austrialian cinema seems to take pride and focus on ozzie particularities, which makes the whole experience much more real and also educational. Which is one of the thrills to watch films from all of the world, especially films that through good stories , cinematography and acting manage to capture a realistic image of the local particularities.  Lots , if not most of european cinema is like this, stuff from scandinavian coutries is very fascinating to me, also its very good cinema. 

 

In several occasions in the past I have felt that australian culture seems like a different version of american culture, but the more one discovers, the more he sees the distinct ozzie flavour..

 

I dont know if you can understand the appeal for a non native english speaker to explore different types of anglo-populated countries, in a world dominated at large by anglo culture which definately reflects in cinema and TV as well. 

 

I would also argue that some of the best quality american cinema and especially TV is the material that indeed features stories that focus on local particularities, from the infamous crime-drama TV series  to non-mainstream american cinema.  

 

Its quite notable that this  "focus on local particularity" is an integral part of ozzie cinema and I sense that it might be historicaly important for ozzie arts in general. 

 

I would love to read your comments. 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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Something you need to realise about Australia, that you probably already know, but is very important... It's really, really, big. Even Australian accents differ wildly between the states and regions. Individual state governments are 1000's of kilometres away from other states and the only real thing tying them together is trade and federal taxation.

 

Social attitudes between states and even regions within the states vary wildly, as do local laws, law enforcement priorities, food quality and general quality of life. There's plenty of places in Australia where they could not care less if you smoke pot and others where they will try and arrest your whole family with a SWAT team if someone mentions that you are growing a plant. It's always been like this too. I grew up in the bush, very laid back, very chill, but very self policing as well. Kangaroo courts still used to happen back in those days and everyone knew everyone else's business. But in the cities at the same time Asian gangs were making their mark and dominating the drug and extortion trades in Perth. Around those same times you have the same stories you see on Underbelly happening in different states. But these were different times. There was no internet, there was no Federal computer system, even the telephone system was pretty average in a lot of places. Crime proliferated wherever it could because criminalisation of of substances creates a black market that people will exploit, every time. In Western Australia and Northern Territory there was a lot of Hell's Angels and Cheaters groups acting openly even. They then moved deeper into the east as other syndicates got taken down. It's only recently through criminal laws have they been able to disassemble these gangs in QLD and NSW. SA took the easy way out and decriminalised cannabis a long time ago when these first pot and speed wars were going on, it saved them from a lot of crime and pain.

 

It's a huge topic. Others here will be able to fill in more clearly what was happening in their part of the country before mobile phones and the internet changed the world, but don't think for a minute that the portrayal in a film or series would be accurate for what was happening generally withing the country. It was a pretty wild place full of many opportunities back then.

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Thanks for comment. I understand its a huge topic on a continent sized country, but I think its very interesting. Just to make clear, as the word "bush" is so widely used.  You mean countryside / sparcely populated areas when saying bush?   

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1 hour ago, sagiXsagi said:

Thanks for comment. I understand its a huge topic on a continent sized country, but I think its very interesting. Just to make clear, as the word "bush" is so widely used.  You mean countryside / sparcely populated areas when saying bush?   

Pretty much on point mate, the bush is the undeveloped, sparcely populated countryside be it temperate forests, scrubland, desert, or tropical rainforsests ect.

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