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The dilemma faced by the Australian film industry after a decade – and about fifty feature films – of revival is neatly put by the Foreword and the Introduction to The New Australian Cinema. One kind of pioneer, Phillip Adams, to whom some credit for the early impetus is due, has one kind of warning. ‘Our politicians, film corporations and investors are insisting on the need for commercial success in the U.S.’, he says, and reminds us of the reasons some of us thought an Australian film industry was important: ‘We needed to hear our own accent. We wanted our voice to be heard in the world.’ Another and earlier kind of pioneer, Ken G. Hall, speaking from the bitter experience of the immediate post-war years (when, as he says, ‘I made newsreels’) has the opposite warning; ‘There will be no enduring film industry in this country unless it is based on commercially successful films.’

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I sometimes wonder whether David Combe’s detractors have ever read the legend of his sins – the transcript (even as officially bowdlerised) – of his conversation with Ivanov on 4 March 1983. It is upon the fact of this event (but certainly not upon the record of its substance) that Combe is widely charged, not with treachery, but with greed, intolerable ambition, and amazing indiscretion.

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