Fellow travellers, as any of us who has worked in Australia's thriving arts sector knows only too well, Australian films are without doubt the best in the world! But sadly, local audiences are usually too stupid to appreciate them. Consequently they often fail to attract substantial crowds and lose money.

Of course, I don't consider box office failure a problem in itself, since I am against the profit motive in principle. However, it is undeniably unfortunate that every time an Aussie movie loses taxpayers' money an appalling conservative has yet more mud to throw at progressives in his next anti-arts funding diatribe in The Australian. That's why it's important to support all locally made movies wholeheartedly regardless of how much money they make (or lose) and simply not criticize them.

But unfortunately criticism is exactly what a lot of film critics have been doing lately. And their negativity seems to have caught on in our creative milieux, with some film-makers and film lovers saying that Aussie movies suck more often than not, and that they should stop being so arty, quirky and political and instead just try to entertain.

This unfortunate paradigm is in dire need of subversion. So, in a spirit of support and affirmation, I heartily congratulate the makers of the gritty crime drama Animal Kingdom, which just stormed the AFI Awards. (Extra kudos to Jacki Weaver, who looks likely to get an Oscar nod. Yougogirl!)

However, I must admit to some discomfort about the film title. Since the film is about a family of habitual lawbreakers, the label seems to be associating criminal behavior with our fellow travellers across the genetic divide. Of course, technically speaking, we humans are part of the Kingdom Animalia anyway, so there is a false dichotomy in effect already. But given the prejudice that pervades society, the name's inference is that if you are a criminal, you are more like a non-human animal. The obvious corollary to this is that only Homo sapiens are capable of creating and obeying laws; that humans alone are "civilized"!

Of course this wouldn't be the first time such an offensive allusion has been made. Film culture in particular, and Western culture in general, is rife with this kind of appalling speciesism.

Still, it is disappointing. It's also somewhat strange, since artists are so much greener than the Great Unloofahed, as a rule. While they may not have yet reached the level of enlightenment that I - and possibly even some of you! - have attained and become actual animal rights activists, you would think that the film's creators would have be a bit more mindful of the hurt that such an analogy can cause and chosen a less insensitive title.