Australian Rules

Ladies and gentleman, the film Australian Rules is simply impossible to overlook as Australia’s entry into the international film everything that a proper ‘Australian’ film should, drama, romance, action and deceit. It portrays cultural differences that create segregation between the fabrics of society in a town that doesn’t possess the capacity to co-exist which is evident in urbanized Australia.

My name is ______, and I am taking it upon myself today to tell you, the good people of the Australian Film Board that ‘Australian Rules’ is capable of earning great accolade at the international film competition and doing Australia great favours in the eyes of the international film community. The director, Paul Goldman, has achieved what he feels to be an honest and frank interpretation of our Australian identity through the use and skilful manipulation of several film techniques such as setting, cinematography, characterization, music and symbolism.

I will discuss these techniques with you in detail as i continue. The movie is set in Prospect Bay, a remote outpost on the South Australian coast. It is a dry, desolate and unappealing area which is confirmed by the lives lived by the ‘tidy towns’ few residents. The town has been presented in this fashion as it emphasises the true remoteness of the location, and presents the audience with the fact that the characters are not in or even near the city, do not follow the city culture and do not partake in activities in a ‘conventional’ way.

The setting in which the movie takes place is of greater importance to the overall message of the film than perhaps anything else. It conveys the message that there is another side to Australia, one which suburbia has not been exposed to. Gary Black, usually referred to as Blacky by his peers, is the kind hearted and idealistic feature character in the film. He is separated from the rest of the community as he is willing to see beyond the barrier of white vs. Black and exist in both worlds, away from the insurmountable racial tension that is evidently displayed by the actions and attitudes of the wider community.

He is positioned in such a light that his actions, whether they be positive, or negative, are seen to be in good will and are intended to be without malice, regardless of whether this is the case. He is also placed in a position of weakness and vulnerability. This is showcased through the relationship which is shared between Blacky and his father. He is portrayed as being afraid of his father and not willing to examine his father’s role within his own life, but more mportantly his family’s life and question his use of negative, aggressive and demeaning tactics which he employs in order to gain full control of his family and eliminate any defiant or disobedient behaviour. The use and manipulation of cinematography throughout the film is of massive importance as it presents different characters in a desired way which helps to shape the film. For example the camera angles in the scene in which Blacky’s father exposes him and Clarence lying in bed together and proceeds to beat Garry down. The camera angle depicts Garry lying on the ground with an upward shot centred at the fathers imposing presence.

The shot is almost the point of view Garry would have experienced as he was was lying on the ground in fear. This was the angles particular purpose, to emphasise the presence of fear and trepidation in that situation. The use of music, or lack thereof in the film is a powerful way of distinguishing the true feelings and emotions in any given situation. If there is a light hearted friendly moment within the film the music may possibly be calm and light, giving the impression of carelessness and fun. The same applies to a dramatic scene where the music may be deep and frantic to convey to the audience the feeling of anticipation.

A scene i would like to focus on is the scene in which Garry and his father have a final ‘showdown’, if you will, at the front of the house. The scene consists of the father imposing himself on Garry and proceeding to continually beat him down time after time only for Garry to rise up and face his father on each occasion. This scene evoked a feeling of pride and admiration from the audience as to Garry’s courage and determination to convey the message to his father that he is ready to stand on his own two feet and defy him.

This is a very powerful scene within the movie which initiated powerful emotions within the audience. All of this was accomplished with the notable absence of music of any form. The omission of music in this scene created an atmosphere in which the dramatic affect was amplified due to the silence. The use of symbolism is clearly evident throughout the film. From the contrast of the colours on the team’s uniform which many believe to be a hidden symbol of ‘unity’ as such, to the final scene of the movie which entails Garry and Clarence swimming in the ocean in what appears to be a yin-yan formation.

One notable use of symbolism in the film is that of the ‘fruit and nut’ bar. This symbolises the fathers role in the family, as something simple as a bar of chocolate can mean so much within the context of the families relationships. It is the ultimate symbol of the dominate and commanding position in which the father holds within the household. I wish to thank you, the members of the film board for your valuable time and hope you have taken into consideration the message I have conveyed to you today.

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