The new Qantas inflight safety video
This week, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with the new Qantas inflight safety demonstration video. It is, in a word, beautiful. For me, Qantas’ new inflight video is more than just a safety demonstration, or even a clever tourism campaign.
Frequent readers of this page will know that I’m not a huge fan of the country in which I was born. The cultural trajectory of Australia in my lifetime seems to have swerved in a direction that I don’t identify with; one where the unquestioningly patriotic, mindlessly crass, drunk alpha male is held up as the quintessential “Aussie larrikin” – and therefore something to aspire to.
And occasionally Australia gets it right, and when they do, it’s incredible. One excellent example of this, in my opinion, was the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Love or hate the Olympics, the opening ceremony was culturally rich and for the times, spectacular beyond words. It didn’t shy away from “iconic Australia”, while glossing over the parochial stuff that we could really do without. Those crap inflatable kangaroos from the Atlanta Olympics closing ceremony only made a brief, self-deprecating appearance in 2000 – long enough to be endearingly laughable, but not too long to make us cringe.
It is arguably one of the best showcases of what can be contributed to the canon of “Australian culture”, a notion that so many people used to (and still do) snigger at. Qantas’ new inflight safety video, I believe, falls into the same category. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is;
A multiethnic cast of otherwise “ordinary” Australians going about their daily lives, creative reimaginings of otherwise banal safety procedures, a modern-yet-classic-sounding backing track and the stunning natural beauty of Australia on show for the world. This is a refreshing approach to the vision of Australian identity; varied, warm and articulate, with no Lara Bingle, racist redneck or drunken yobbo in sight. The idea is not completely new, as it’s actually an upgrade to the Qantas inflight safety video from last year which had a similar theme. There’s something about the new video however which, in my opinion, takes it to another level – I just can’t quite put my finger on what it is.
Creative, warm, diverse, refined but free-spirited. Isn’t this another (potential) narrative of Australian culture?