Everyone has a unique sense of belonging and identity. Our sense of identity is shaped within personal, cultural, historical contexts over a long period of time. That’s why we prefer our own identity over anyone else’s. We reject a forced identity and take risks to find the place where we truly belong. We
engage with the world in search for a better understanding of our true identity.
A text which shows ideas about the sense of belonging and identity is “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce. “Rabbit Proof Fence” starts with a sense of belonging to the land and family. In the beginning of the movie the girls are living happily with their family. Noyce uses aerial shots in colorful scenes of the nature. There is a large expanse of the blue sky behind the characters to symbolize the freedom they have. Noyce uses close-up shots showing Molly hugging her mum while the mum points at the spirit bird and says “It will always look after you”. Noyce portrays the connection of the indigenous people to the land by showing the survival skills of Molly and her family when they catch a goanna, “Good hunters in this family”. From these scenes we understand the importance of land and family to the Aboriginal people and gain an insight into their culture and identity.
The peace and happiness of the scene is destroyed by the arrival of Constable Riggs and his hard noisy vehicle. He forcibly removes Molly, Gracie and Daisy showing a piece of paper to justify his action. The mother screams in agony “These are my children mine”. The scene is filmed form the mother’s point of view which allows the viewer to feel what their mother feels. The car is a tactile barrier between the girls and their family. The facial expression in the close-up shots and the banging of the girls on the windows of the car emphasizes their unwillingness to leave Jigalong. The removal of the children is so tragic for their family that we see the grandmother hitting her head with a stone in grief. With these ideas and visual techniques Noyce shows the belonging of the girls to their family and that it is very callous to remove someone from where they belong.
The girls are taken to the Moore river settlement where they are not allowed to speak their language and are introduced in Mr. Neville words, “to everything that the white culture has to offer”. The
presence of non-diagetic eerie sounds contributes to our understanding of the place and girls’ feelings. Gracie lacks a strong connection with her family and accepts the life easier than Molly. “I’m not coming,
I like it here”. Similar to Leah when she arrived to China, Molly does not accept her new place and is frustrated. Noyce shows the scene as colorless and grey to convey Molly’s alienation. She sees how Olive, the girl who had just escaped from the settlement is punished but despite knowing the dangers she decides to escape back to Jigalong. Just like how Ke was aware of the dangers but still attended the protests. From these scenes we can see how one’s attitude towards belonging can change over time and
how people take risks to find the place where they truly belong to.
We should acknowledge that we are unique but also very similar. As humans, we all have the right to liver freely and to be heard. We respect freedom and like to live in an environment free of discriminations. By understanding this we can build a better community for everyone to live in.