Better Things

What mainstream movies can teach us

Episode Summary

We often don't give a second thought to the entertainment we consume; the sort we put on to relax after a hard day's work. But should we actually be watching through a more critical lens?

Episode Notes

Dr Katharina Bonzel watches movies, TV and videos for work. That might sound like a good deal – until you consider that she sometimes has to watch a single film up to 15 times.

It’s all for a good cause though. She toils to elucidate the meanings being conveyed, how they’re conveyed, and what they say about society. But she doesn’t just watch the deeply intellectual stuff. She sees value in analysing mainstream fare – and here, she makes the case for why we should too.


Dr Katharina Bonzel is a Screen Studies scholar in the ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. Her first monograph, National Pastimes: Cinema, Sports and Nation (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), examines the representation of national identity in sports films - from Rocky to Chariots of Fire. In her spare time she enjoys a spot of photography and American BBQ. Dr Bonzel is excited to be part of the new Screen Studies major and is teaching the Adaptation: From Text to Screen course.

The theme music for Better Things is “One More Time” by Fab Beat.

Other music used in this episode: “New Castle” by Anitek.

Better Things is a production of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. It’s produced by Evana Ho.

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