Belonging Essay

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An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich their feelings of belonging and acceptance, however feelings of insecurity can lead to isolation and rejection limiting the experience of belonging. The concept of belonging is feeling connected to another individual, group, place or object that evokes positive emotions within oneself. In contrast, not belonging leads to feelings of alienation due to a lack of understanding, separation or when forced to embrace unfamiliarity. Through the 1992 film ‘Strictly Ballroom’ directed by Baz Luhrmann, the children’s biography ‘ by Beverley McGregor and the punk rock song ‘Perfect’ by Simple Plan, composers illustrate both concepts of belonging and alienation . Through a range of cinematic and literary techniques these composers show how an individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich and limit their experiences of belonging.

Baz Luhrmann through the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’ utilizes costuming to suggest isolation as well as ‘belonging’ and how it can either enrich or limit an individual’s experience. This is highlighted in the first scenes when viewers are introduced, through the mocumentary, to the flamboyancy of characters from the world of ballroom dancing such as Liz in her trademark gaudy canary colored outfits, and Shirley Hasting in her pink ball gowns that are matched to her ornate fuchsia eye shadow and lipstick. In contrast the character of Fran is dressed in a shapeless, oversized t-shirt and a close up of her face shows her naturally troubled skin free from makeup, wearing a large pair of thick-framed glasses. This immediately segregates her from the rest of the competitors and supporters of Ballroom dancing, signifying to the audience that a lack of interaction with others can severely impact on ones sense of belonging. The split screen later in the film where Fran, in normal day clothes dances with Scott and on the other side of the curtain Tina...
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