Rabbit Proof-Fence, an Idea of Power and Paternalism

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In the visual text ‘Rabbit Proof-Fence’ directed by Phillip Noyce, I see the interesting idea of power and paternalism. This is made interesting through cinematography, symbolism and verbal features. The film is about the Aborigines facing difficulties under the paternalistic policies of the whites who have power over them and the adventure of three Aborigine girls running away from the white control back to their mothers, across the Australian Outback.

Firstly, I see how cinematography is used to make the idea of power and paternalism more interesting. When we are introduced to Constable Riggs in the beginning of the film, he is shown from a very low angle. The camera tilts up and pans upwards and we see him looking in the distance, on his horse and in neat uniform. This gives him the impersonation that he is of importance and power, which he is, towards the Aborigine. The low angle shot makes him seem bigger than he is, giving him more power. I see this as interesting as if Phillip Noyce had used any other camera shot when we first see him, it would have taken away his importance and power he has, and his role in the movie. It is also interesting as the low angle shot makes him seem taller/higher than he is. People who are placed higher up are usually people with power, for example a king who is sitting on his throne, giving him more value than someone on the ground floor. In Korea, people bow towards other people of importance, the reason, to situate themselves below that person in a sign of respect and power. If Constable Riggs was shown in a mid shot, the idea wouldn’t have been as interesting to the low shot, as the low shot could have even been from a person’s perspective and someone as low as that could not have the same power as the person higher up.

Secondly, I see the use of symbolism, which makes the idea of power and paternalism more interesting. A symbol I see in the film is Mr Neville’s documents. When we first see a scene with Mr Neville, he...
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