A recent film that I have studied in class has managed to unsettle me, to change my views about major issues such as gender and family I found Billy Elliot to be a moving and uplifting film about motherless Billy fulfilling his dream of becoming a ballet dancer, in the process overcoming the objections of his father and brother. By setting the movie in the context of a mining community, and more specifically against the backdrop of the 1980’s miners' strike they were able to refer to gender and class issues. The effective use of symbolic and technical film codes and the narrative elements; point of view, plot and characterization positioned me to challenge the stereotypical understandings of class and gender. At first, this does not seem like a text that would unsettle anybody in a significant way but when the true messages are conveyed a deeper meaning can be made and can, indeed, be quite unsettling.
The first issue I will be discussing is gender expectations within society. This issue has unsettled me more so than I would have thought, maybe because it is still I key issue in today’s society .There are a lot of gender expectations within society that are involved with Billy Elliot. In Billy Elliot, boys are meant to do boxing, wrestling and any other sports that may be viewed as strictly male activities and girls are meant to do ballet, cooking and sewing. This is evident in the scene when billy’s dad finds out that billy has been doing dancing, where Jackie is tells Billy, he is not allowed to do ballet "Boys do football, soccer, wrestling, not friggin ballet" and eventually bans Billy from attending ballet class and even boxing, to care for his grandmother. These challenges are emphasised by the lack of dialogue, allowing complete focus to be placed on Billy as he dances in an attempt to break through the social constraints. It makes me think, how much effort billy had to go through just to do what he wants, not only where gender expectations strict in...
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