Analyse how contrast was used to communicate an important message or idea
‘Once Were Warriors’ Directed by Lee Tamahori and based on the novel by Alan Duff is a powerful, hard hitting film, seething with raw emotion and pride. It is a film about strength and power of culture and belonging and these ideas are displayed through the contrast of characters, setting and music and sound effects.
Characters are the heart of this film. Complex and brutally real, they are portrayed in daring and passionate performances to create a universal and timeless idea about culture and belonging. Beth Heke (Rena Owen) is the epitome of this idea. She is tough, feisty, proud, but still extremely vulnerable, especially in the urban world where she is cut off from her culture. With the extra pressure of a fierce and overpowering husband she is battered and bruised and trying desperately to hold together her slowly falling-apart family. The contrast between Beth and her vicious husband Jake (Temuera Morrison) throughout the film exemplifies the strength of culture and belonging. Jake is from a ‘long line of slaves’ and the only belonging he finds is within the unstable framework of the pub. When Beth calls on her strong, stable cultural base for support, she receives it. The difference between the two characters is amplified in the last scene. When both parents are hit by the death of their daughter, Grace, Jake, who has no strong base to keep him together, falls apart and is reduced to ranting and raving outside the scummy pub. While Beth, who has found strength in her culture, is beautiful and powerful and can stand up to Jake. Now she can graciously and eloquently free herself from him. The stark contrast between these two, the admiration I felt for Beth and the begrudging pity I felt for Jake intensifies the contrast between them. The characters in ‘Once Were Warriors’ have successfully communicated the idea that culture and belonging give you strength, something that Jake...
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