ACMI Conversations

Retro Nostalgia

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The 80s was a decade renowned for its excess - think money, drugs, eyeshadow and lycra. From Stranger Things and Glow to Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One, we look at contemporary TV and films that transport us back to the decade defined by  ET, The Goonies, big hair, pastels and 12-sided dice.

But what does this recent trend in 80s retro nostalgia tell us about ourselves? Are we nostalgic for a simpler pre-Trump age?

Join filmmaker Glendyn Ivin, academic Dr Lauren Rosewarne and critic Mel Campbell in a neon-coloured, synth-scored exploration of our yearning for 80s small town America.

About the panel

Mel Campbell

Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist and critic who co-hosts the fortnightly literature and culture podcast The Rereaders.

Mel is a columnist on writing at Overland magazine, a lecturer in Monash University’s Master of Communications and Media Studies program, and a writer on film, TV and media at Junkee, The Big Issue, Crikey, Metro, The Guardian and more. Her first book was the nonfiction investigation Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit (Affirm Press, 2013), and she’s the co-author of the romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy (Echo Publishing, 2017). 

Glendyn Ivin

Glendyn Ivin is one of Australia’s leading directors in television, film and commercials. He was recently listed in The Sydney Morning Herald as one of Australian televisions ‘Most Powerful and Influential’. 

Glendyn came to attention with the short film Cracker Bag, winning the Palme d’Or in 2003 at the Cannes Film Festival. His first feature film, Last Ride, starred Hugo Weaving and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won Best New Director at The Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the Rome International Film Festival.

For television, Glendyn’s credits include Puberty Blues for which he was set up director, winning the 2012 AACTA award for Best TV Drama Series. He is currently in post-production for Safe Harbour.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne

Dr Lauren Rosewarne is a Senior Lecturer the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Melbourne.

Lauren is the author of eight books; her ninth book, due later in 2017, focuses on Christmas films and the distinct role of nostalgia - as both a theme and an underlying politics - underpinning the nearly 1000 films she discussed. More information is available at