Billy Elliot

2 February 2017

The notion of ‘into the world’ is clearly displayed through various language and film techniques in the film Billy Elliot by Daltry and the feature article Worlds Apart by Schmit which is found in the magazine Sydney Life. The film Billy Elliot by Daldry addresses the theme of ‘into the world’ through various camera techniques, dialogue and themes. The theme of ‘into the world’ is mirrored by the theme of individual growth.

Billy unmistakably grows as an individual as he is able to make the transition between being a miner’s son (during the 1984-85 miners’ strike) expected to follow a traditional path into mining and participating in sports such as boxing -to pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer. Billy’s first transition occurs when he is handed the keys to the ballet class and he enters it to be completely astonished by the beauty of the art known as ballet. The key that Billy is handed symbolizes his gateway to a new world.

Billy Elliot Essay Example

This transition is reflected through the scenes when Billy is seen running the streets of Everington with his boxing gloves around his shoulders and the later scene where Billy replaces them with ballet shoes. Additionally, there is a pan of the students’ lower body of Mrs. Wilkinson’s class. Here we see Billy in his boxing boots practicing ballet amongst the students wearing ballet shoes. Shoes are a powerful symbol as he initially hides his ballet shoes and pretends that he is going to boxing.

Wearing them around his neck in public represents his determination to pursue ballet in the face of his society’s prejudice. Billy’s world is new world is further focused on during the strike where Billy’s father and brother are protesting and Billy is doing ballet. Daldry uses fast cut shots during this scene to create a contrast between Billy’s old world which he left behind and the new world to which he just stepped into. However, Billy’s transition into the world isn’t always ‘smooth running’ as he faces many barriers set out by society- especially in relations to gender roles.

When Jackie says ‘lads do boxing and wrestling… not bloody ballet’ this demonstrates the stereotypes held in society. Initially when Debbie says ‘plenty of men do it [ballet]’ Billy dismisses them as ‘poofs’. This further reflects Billy’s upbringing and the attitudes of his community. One of the other barriers that Billy faces is an economical one. Jackie goes against his beliefs and breaks the strike in order to earn enough money so that Billy can travel to London and audition for the royal ballet school.

However, as Jackie later tells Tony to ‘give the kid a chance’ and when asked ‘are you one hundred percent behind Billy? ’, he replies, ‘yes, yes of course we are’. This shows Billy overcoming the gender barriers as well as Jackie coming into a new world. Additionally, it also suggests that in order for an individual to successfully come into a new world, they need the support of their family and of others around them. Hence through overcoming social stereotypes, both Billy and Jackie are able to come into the world.

In the end of the movie when Billy comes out to perform he is seen wearing a boxing robe, this robe is symbolic of the hardships that Billy went through to get into a new world and that robe also symbolic of the fact that although Billy is not fighting in the boxing ring, he is still fighting as a ballet dancer. Tribal Voice, a feature article by Scobie illustrates the theme ‘into the world’ through various language techniques. The article tells of the ‘groundbreaking’ achievement of Jamie, an aboriginal, in his film Ten Canoes.

The article communicates the theme ‘into the world’ through its primary use of word choice. The sentence ‘today is a society in transition’ shows a community’s between one stage to another and hence, their process of ‘coming into the world’. The lines ‘… Ten Canoes is the first feature length film to be shout entirely in an indigenous language’ clearly displays Jamie breaking through social stereotypes and their general belief that feature films are to the shot in majority culture languages –i. e. English instead of the indigenous people’s language.

However, Jamie’s coming into a new world leads him to be ‘caught between two worlds and not fully accepted… [Jamie] walks between two cultural spheres. This is a reflection of how Billy, through his choice of expressing himself through ballet instead of boxing and his break away from the collapsing mining industry and entering the elite’s society through ballet, is found to be surrounded by two completely different worlds. The concept of individual growth is also mirrored through Jamie’s experiences as ‘Jamie changed after puberty and men’s business’ and hence, has experienced growth and a built up of confidence within himself.

Tribal Voice further links with Billy Elliot through the notion that as an individual comes into the world, they need to overcome their fears with the guidance of their family. It is seen that in the audition scene, Billy says to his dad ‘I’m scared’ alongside the close up of Billy’s face depicting fear and worry followed by Billy opening the door to the audition room (doors are used as a motif in Billy Elliot to represent new opportunities and the concept of entering a new world) and is replicated in Tribal Voice in the line ‘I could see Jamie wasn’t comfortable… but he played the brave warrior’.

In addition, the need of family support and guidance is echoed in Tribal Voice in ‘one day you’ll be walking’ and ‘David (Jamie’s dad) talks while Jamie listens’. Therefore Tribal Voice presents the theme ‘into the world’ by stating the necessity for an individual to overcome barriers that they are presented with and that the guidance of the individual’s family is necessary for a successful transition into a new world.

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Billy Elliot. (2017, Feb 02). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-billy-elliot-6/
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