Jarryd Ebejer 12.02
“Family is one of the most powerful influences on an individual’s sense of belonging.”
Belonging is a complex experience, composed of a range of factors. For many belonging to family is a critical element where it influences an individual to gain a sense of comfort. In Baz Luhrman’s film Strictly Ballroom, the families of Scott and Fran provide vastly different experiences of belonging and not belonging. It is within Fran’s family we see her demonstrate a strong connection of belonging to family. Throughout the film we clearly see Scott reject the dominant values of belonging in the world of the dance federation and his family. Likewise the short film of Be My Brother created by Genevive Clay, significantly establishes that family can contain the most powerful influence on an individual’s sense of belonging as shown through numerous scenes and techniques. Luhrman and Clay strongly demonstrate the impacts of family through, community, a relationship on ones sense of belonging through costume, set design, camera angle, and camera positioning.
The film Strictly Ballroom depicts various techniques where it truly determines that family is the most powerful influence on any individual’s sense of belonging. A strong technique that exposes this powerful statement is visible through the use of dialogue, where Fran’s mother calls her “Francesca“. This strongly suggests that within Fran’s family she has a significant sense of belonging and an appreciation of cultural identity. Furthermore it is clear that Fran has a close connection with her father Rico and grandmother Ya Ya, as they understand and respect her for her individual qualities, Francesca. Presented within this scene a low angle shot of Fran and Ya Ya having a conversation is taken place. The low camera angle shot depicts the idea that they have a powerful sense of belonging between each other as it implies that they have an influential relationship. Ya Ya expresses belief and confidence in Fran and inspires her gain courage so that she is able to shadow her mothers dancing footsteps. Thus, it is significantly evident that family can enhance an individual’s sense of belonging.
Where Family may construct a negative influence on an individual’s sense of belonging, this does not allow the individual to develop individuality. Throughout Strictly Ballroom Doug is seen as a powerless figure that does not gain the opportunity to develop his own sense of identity. Dialogue is used to demonstrate that family that family can determine a negative aspect of belonging for an individual. A negative rhetorical question is perceived within the scene where Shirley says, “I’ve been with your father for 25 years, do you think I get bored? Of course I do!” The effect of this implies that the family connection between Shirley and Doug is weak as Shirley questions their relationship as boring. Therefore only drifting Doug’s sense of belonging with Shirley further apart. Furthermore another example where family has an influence on one’s sense of belonging is visual through the use of a high camera angle. This technique demonstrates that in practically every shot Doug is seen in, he is almost always captured with a high camera angle shot. The effect suggests that Doug is powerless, weak, less important within his family and does belong amongst his relationship with Shirley. Consequently it is evident that family can create a negative influence on an individual’s sense of belonging, as they may not allow them to attain an identity.
Where family can constrain an individual from the satisfaction of belonging, this does not allow the one to develop self-independence and individuality. The technique discovered to demonstrate ones sense of belonging is established through the camera angle technique of a long shot of when Scott comes home late at night. Scott and Shirley are having an immense argument in the kitchen about Scott rejecting to dance