Area Of Study: BELONGING
Finding a sense of belonging
The concept of belonging is explored well in the film Strictly Ballroom. Directed by Baz Luhrmann and released in 1992, this film explores the concept of belonging in relation to places, events and relationships. Throughout the film, techniques such as symbolism, lighting, costume, non-diagetic music and dialogue help to express these concepts to the audience. Firstly, Symbolism is the most common technique used throughout the film to convey belonging to the ballroom dancing world. In Scene 1 of “Strictly Ballroom”, symbolism is used to connect the protagonist, Scott to the world of ballroom dancing. The number 100 pinned to his back represents his strive for perfection and his determination to win. The gold sequinned costume also reinforces this idea, also being symbolic of the golden performance expected of him. Through symbolism, we can see that scott is trying to belong to the ballroom dancing world by conforming to their standards and expectations.
Secondly, belonging to different places is delineated through the film technique of lighting. In Scene 3 when Scott is dancing by himself in front of the mirrors, natural lighting is used which conveys a sense of freedom and enjoyment felt by him as he dances his own steps. Scott feels a new found sense of belonging where he can be himself. This is contrasted to the bright, artificial lighting used in the competition where everyone must conform to standards of the Dance Federation. In the competition, Scott does not smile and he is conforming to the standards of the dance federation which do not allow new steps in the competition.
Another aspect of belonging explored in the film is belonging and relationships, especially for Fran and Scott. This is expressed through the choice of costume for both protagonists. At the beginning of the film (scene 1) Fran wears oversized t-shirt and tights and...
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