The McDonagh Sisters: Outside Influences

The McDonagh Sisters: Outside Influences
Australian Film Television and Radio School
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This short clip from the documentary The McDonagh Sisters (2003), directed by Rebecca Barry, gives remarkable insight into the motivations of the three young filmmaking pioneers.

While film historians Marilyn Dooley and Graham Shirley explain how the sisters flouted the conventions of 1920s Australian filmmaking, we see snippets from the McDonaghs' features that reinforce the experts' opinions.

The interviewees observe that none of the McDonaghs' feature films are set against a typically Australian landscape, and also draw attention to how the set designs and plots have been shaped by American and German – rather than local – influences.

These insights combine to make a compelling argument that appealing to the average Australian cinema audience was not the dominant concern of the sisters; rather, they ventured into filmmaking to please themselves.