The concept of belonging and acceptance is a major part of our modern society. Most stories and films represent belonging or alienation in one way or another. Strictly Ballroom, directed by Baz Luhrmann and the ‘Ugly Duckling’, a short story by Hans Christian Anderson, both represent the concept of acceptance and rejection through the use of many film and language techniques.
Strictly Ballroom represents belonging using a variety of techniques to distinguish between the world of artifice and the more realistic world. The image of the artificial world, shown as the ballroom world, is glitzy and colourful. Luhrmann has presented this world as having power, whereas the character of Fran, shown in plain clothes and reading
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Luhrmann has used costuming throughout Strictly Ballroom to convey his themes of belonging and stepping outside of the uniformity. Scott is seen in plain black and white, symbolic of him being a part of, yet different from those in the artificial ballroom world. Fran is seen to gain power as the film progresses and her costuming changes. Initially, she is seen in pastel colours, juxtaposed with the brightly dressed try-out girls, creating sympathy for Fran and the dissimilarity between them. Next seen in grey, which is symbolic of her striving to be more like Scott, half way between black and white. Finally she is placed beside Scott in black and white, visually equal where the audience see’s her entering the world of dancing your own steps; a real world compared to the artificiality of the ballroom world, and here she has a sense of belonging. Her transformation from a naïve and simplistic self into a confident whole with Scott is complete, as shown in the final scene as she dances with Scott in a glamorous dress which highlights her Spanish heritage. This switch of power from the ballroom world to the ‘real’ world of Fran is gradual, and is completed during the concluding scene, with the symbolic exposing of Barry Fife’s toupee, which is synonymous with the revealing of his real