Analysis of archetypal symbols in the film "The Last Wave"

Essay by wiseassHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2003

download word file, 7 pages 4.0

March 24, 2003

TAG Period 2

Visual Literacy "The Last Wave"

Themes of "The Last Wave"

Australian director Peter Weir's groundbreaking film "The Last Wave" is one of the most symbol - rich films ever made. It is a great triumph of film, and the first film ever to be based around Aboriginal ideas and use Aboriginal actors. The film explores Aboriginal culture and social conflict, while at the same time being a watery thrill ride. The film has several main themes, which may not seem apparent by merely watching the film, but rather doing in-depth analysis of every minor image or event in the film, and obviously is not a film to be casually viewed, but carefully studied, for it hides it's true themes very well under the guise of being a suspense movie about strange weather. Through careful observation, the major themes of "The Last Wave" can be seen as both culture subjugation and an archetypal Hero's Journey.

The main theme of the film is less evident than it's advertised theme, which is a story about one man's struggle to overcome a natural apocalypse, or the theme of man versus nature. However, if one carefully studies the film, one can see that this is not the main theme at all, but rather a focal point for a greater conflict. The conflict of man versus man in culture subjugation, or society versus society. Throughout the entire film, you can clearly see how the cultural gap between the tribal Aborigines in the city and the white people create a tension between their two worlds, tension that is supposed to be ended by a great wave sometime in the immediate future. From the very beginning, the tension between the white people and the...