Outside Inside: Nature, Gender, and the Altered Domestic Space in Possum (1997) and Nature's Way (2006)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The landscape and nature are central to New Zealand cinema and the duel conception of landscape, observed by Claudia Bell as both beautiful and dangerous and beautifully cultivated, has variously influenced screen representations (1996: 29). In particular, it is pivotal to the rural Kiwi Gothic and its unsettling imaginings of the natural environment. Short films Possum and Nature’s Way come from this tradition and present a troubling vision of human interaction with the natural. As Ian Conrich has observed, “the binary opposition of domestic/wild is central to many examples of Kiwi Gothic in which the home of the settler offers shelter against the forces of the wilderness” (2012: 403). These films upset the supposed security of such binaries and explore a blurring of boundaries as the mysterious forces of nature encroach on the domestic space. Cinematically the films, although stylistically different, visually and aurally capture the strangeness of a natural environment that remains outside human control. The soundscapes are especially pronounced and render the environment eerie and threatening. The films also situate men in a particularly uneasy association with the natural that disrupts settler mythologies of man’s mastery of nature. Nature, aligned with the feminine, cannot be contained by masculine action and the domestic spaces, which are, unusually, masculinised, are susceptible to its strange power. This chapter will explore how these films, with a particular focus on sound, dramatize the theme of outside inside and the relationships between nature, gender and the domestic space.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHaunted Soundtracks
Subtitle of host publicationAudiovisual Cultures of Memory, Landscape, and Sound
EditorsK.J. Donnelly, Aimee Mollaghan
Place of PublicationNew York, London and Dublin
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5013-8956-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-5013-8955-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Landscape
  • Nature
  • Gothic
  • Gender
  • Domestic Space


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