How does the film Rabbit Proof Fence and the picture book The Rabbits, by Phillip Noyce and John Marsden respectively, position a responder to feel sympathetic for the Aboriginal people in the film and book?
The Aboriginal people of Australia have endured great suffering since white settle began in 1788. Despite this, they have shown both resilience and determination to maintain their cultural identity. Phillip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence examines such suffering through its portrayal of three indigenous girls who were victims of the stolen generations in Western Australia. The film aligns itself with an Aboriginal perspective to demonstrate how prejudiced views about race held last century in Australia led to discriminatory actions. Additionally, the film presents the Aboriginal people as having a definite culture and sense of belonging, which positions a responder to sympathise with the way they were treated by the authorities of the time. Likewise, John Marsden and Shaun Tan's picture book The Rabbits also evokes a sympathetic response through its allegorical depictions of the brutal treatment the aborigines experienced during the process of white settlement and colonisation.
Prejudice invariably leads to discriminatory actions. Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence shows this through its portrayal of 2 sisters and their cousin who were forcibly removed from their mothers because they were deemed as 'half cast'. In one scene early in the film, the girls are grabbed by the authorities and thrust into a car. Ominous non-diegetic music is played you underscore the wills of the aboriginals women and the looks of fear on the girls' faces, which are captured through a range of close-up shots. This has the fact of making a responder feel sympathetic towards the Aboriginal people in the film as they are depicted as being victims of brutal and inhumane campaign that failed to understand their culture and feelings. Similarly, The Rabbits also conveys the theme of prejudice...
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