Death in Paradise: Beauty, Danger, Isolation and Failure in Christine Jeffs’s Rain (2001)

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    Christine Jeffs’s Rain (2001) is a dark, multifaceted film that engages with, and challenges, several established themes and tropes typical of New Zealand cinema. In re-visiting this important movie, this article seeks to highlight that it is characterized by a series of paradoxes that deliberately unsettle and disrupt: safety/nostalgia and danger; stasis and change; family and isolation; homely and unhomely. It also subverts the conventional active/passive dichotomy attributed to masculine and feminine subject positions and questions the prominence of patriarchal authority, but at the same time highlights female vulnerabilities and the precariousness of agency. As such, the film can be aligned with the equally complex and contested category of postfeminist Gothic. Furthermore, the use of landscape and music creates a distinctive aesthetic and soundscape that enhances and comments upon the film’s themes. The expressionistic environment captures and accentuates the mood of the characters and their relationships and foreshadows a death in paradise.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAntipodes: A Global Journal of Australian and New Zealand Literature
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022


    • New Zealand
    • Isolation
    • Masculinity
    • Femininity
    • Postfeminist
    • Gothic


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