Planes of illusion

music soundtrack, rendition and attribution in 'Sanctum' (2011)


  • Jon Fitzgerald Southern Cross University
  • Philip Hayward Southern Cross University
  • David Brennan Melbourne Law School



attribution, Papua New Guinea, Sanctum, soundtrack


Mainstream commercial cinema’s increasing access to highly advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI) has allowed it to produce convincing evocations of places and experiences that increasingly blur the line between the represented ‘real’ of actual locations and digitally generated fictional spaces. This article discusses one such evocation: the spectacular cave system featured in the film Sanctum (2011), directed by Alister Grierson. The first part of this article examines the manner in which audio-visual elements of the film produce a representation of a Papua New Guinean landscape and locale and, in particular, analyses the manner in which David Hirschfelder’s score provides an element of musical exoticism that serves to complement this. The second part of the article discusses issues of cultural use relevant to the film score’s prominent use of an unattributed vocal sequence.

Author Biographies

Jon Fitzgerald, Southern Cross University

Jon Fitzgerald is an adjunct professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, Australia, and an experienced researcher, composer and performer.

Philip Hayward, Southern Cross University

Philip Hayward is Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) at Southern Cross University, Australia and editor of Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures.

David Brennan, Melbourne Law School

David Brennan is an associate professor at the Melbourne Law School, Australia, and is the editor of the Australian Intellectual Property Journal.


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How to Cite

Fitzgerald, J., Hayward, P., & Brennan, D. (2013). Planes of illusion: music soundtrack, rendition and attribution in ’Sanctum’ (2011). Perfect Beat, 13(2), 111–126.




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