Christine Jeff’s Rain (2001) as an Allegory of Settlement


  • Laurence Simmons The University of Auckland



Settler colonialism, fetishism, forgetting, trauma, coming-of-age film.


This article proposes a new reading of Christine Jeffs’ 2001 film Rain as an allegory of settlement. To do so it uses Stephen Turner’s essay ‘Settlement as Forgetting’ and makes reference to the work of Lorenzo Veracini and Patrick Wolfe in settlement studies. It takes Turner’s claim that settlement requires a forgetting in order to patch over the trauma of dislocation from the mother country and explores how structures of nostalgia, fetishism and trauma construct an image of a failed and broken nation; a settler society seeking to forget its own history, afflicted with the trauma of its primal separation from Britain, and under the surface expressing anxiety about the indigenous presence that prevents settler claim over the land and (settler) cultural identity. Jeffs’ film, it is proposed, critiques the fantasmatic elements of settlement, in and through which settlers untiringly strive to envisage themselves as whole, and which sanctions the narrative of that striving to appear to be continuous.