‘Billy Elliot’ directed by Stephen Daldry outlines the transition of Billy Elliot, from a constrained society with limited expectations and restrictive gender roles, out into the broad horizons of the larger world. Daldry effectively used a range of filming techniques such as camera angles, camera shots, and dialogue to develop the theme of moving into the world. This process is seen by the hardships Billy encounters within his society, his perseverance and the support he later receives to successfully move into the world.
While venturing new experiences, Billy encounters various obstacles and hardships; he is inhibited and distressed from the restrictions of male gender roles in his society. Namely, a male doing ballet is considered inappropriate and this culture is reinforced by Billy’s father, “Lads do football or boxing or wrestling. Not friggin ballet. ” Consequently, Billy’s frustration is expressed through a scene showing his dance that follows an argument about his future between Mrs. Wilkinson and his brother, Tony.
Cut ins of his feet furiously dancing illustrate his passion, while the panning of the endless brick walls of the village symbolize the obstruction that he suffers. This suggests that although Billy’s transition into the world is hindered, his commitment to dance as an emotional release allows him to explore his thwarted ambitions. Furthermore, Billy’s perseverance is a significant factor for him to move into the world. Once again, the brick walls in the streets symbolise the physical barrier of Billy who is forbidden to dance. Nevertheless, Billy conveys his perseverance and commitment towards dancing in many situations to keep his hopes up.
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There is a scene where Billy repeatedly fails to land pirouette during one of the private lessons with Mrs. Wilkinson. He feels reluctant to continue learning ballet in aggravation, but he brings himself together and carries on practicing, reinforcing his persistence. This is shown through a very wide shot consisting of both Billy and Mrs. Wilkinson, to show the tight relationship of Mrs. Wilkinson coaching and supporting Billy’s pirouette. Although it may not be favoured, assistance from nearby people definitely helps one to overcome the obstacles in order to move into the world.
Billy receives a lot of support from Mrs. Wilkinson who sees the potential in Billy. After the eventual acceptance from his family, his father, Jackie, tries to assist Billy in every way to help him move into the new world of ballet. A powerful scene is when Billy’s father crosses the picket line during the miners’ strike to earn money and pay for his son’s fees at the Royal Ballet School. A high angle shot was used to make Jackie appear small and powerless and his anguished emotions were evoked through an over the shoulder shot from Tony’s side.
It conveys an idea that sacrifice is only motivated by the power of love and Jackie is willing to give up the strike in order to assist his son into the world. All these scenes in ‘Billy Elliot’ help create diverse aspects that develop the theme of moving into the world. Despite the fact Billy is inhibited from reaching out to grab his dream, in the beginning, his perseverance and support from his close by people help him overcome the limited gender roles of society and achieve his ultimate dream of becoming a ballet dancer.
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