The Rabbit Proof Fence
The Rabbit Proof Fence is an epic tale based on a true story. Set in early 20th century Australia, the moving journey follows the adventures of three young ‘half-caste’ girls. The government captures them and takes them to a special settlement. This film really brings out emotions in the audience. Be prepared to feel sadness, anger, hope and excitements you watch. The whole film is very authentic since it was shot in Australia and the director even searched for weeks finding aboriginal girls. He auditioned them extensively and none of the auditionees had any acting experience.
At the start of the movie it shows white writing on a black background. This makes the viewer focus on the writing. It also symbolises that it is only black and white showing that there is no room for anything in the middle (half caste). After writing it shows us an establishing shot to show the vast, arid landscape that the girls will soon be living in. The shot pans across from a birds eye view. This could the spirit bird which Molly’s mother talks about. It then goes on to show Molly and the landscape, she looks secure in her natural environment.
Her mother then joins her; this shows how close the two are. When the girls get taken away the cinema is filled with sorrow. There is a sense of dramatic irony since we see Neville writing the letter allowing the girls to be captured. This also gives us an idea of how arrogant and cruel Neville is by taking someone away from his or her culture. This scene in particular makes us express many emotions, mainly anger and sadness. We know something bad will happen at the start of the scene since there is eerie music and birds squawking.
The camera shots used are very good. One point of view shot is particularly good, it is out of focus and shaky which shows the confusion felt by the character. You can see limbs of people now and then but it is mostly dust. Another moving shot is when the girls are in the car and the camera pans across showing three women at the side of the car banging on the windows but not getting in. It is very sad that they are so close yet so far since the mothers think they will never see them again.
The scene when the girls are on the way to Moore River makes you feel sad and also makes you think that the girls have given up hope since they are being transported like animals. It seems that the man looking at them is powerful compared to them even though he is just an old man. This makes the children seem even weaker. I was very shocked about how the girls were treated both on the way to and at the Moore River Settlement. Once at the settlement, another shock is how Neville inspects Molly. The camera shot is from Molly’s point of view.
All music silences and all you can hear is Molly’s footsteps and breathing. Neville’s voice is very kind and he says things like ‘we wont hurt you’. Although this may be true he will still destroy the culture in which Molly lives. This makes Neville’s speech true in the way that they wont harm them physically but he will hurt her emotionally and mentally It is only when the three girls escape when the audience realise how cunning Molly is. This is because of the way she was brought up so in some ways, her mother (who brought her up) is helping her escape.
A normal English girl probably wouldn’t be able to escape and fool the tracker. At one point, the tracker, Moodoo comes very close to discovering the girls. To build up tension, the director uses a point of view shot of Molly as she filters the sounds she hears, birds etc. You can also hear her heartbeat in the background along with didgeridoos. The close ups on each gir faces shows how scared they are. After that tense scene it goes onto the girls finding the fence. Molly sees it and whistles to the others. , another indicator that she is the leader of the small group, they then run to the fence in slow motion.
As they run, very optimistic music can be heard. The camera shot used shows a lot of the landscape, this makes us think the girls have a lot ahead of them. Once the girls found the fence they just had to follow it to get home. However when they reach the saltpan your hopes seems to fade like the girls probably did. They start to stumble and the film shows this by the way it fades from one shot to another, as it fades it slows down. The screen then blurs and shows us and shows us a long shot, not only showing us the vast landscape but also how thin the girls are.
It then shows a close-up where you can see the desperation on their faces. As soon as they fall over, your heart sinks. When they get up again, optimistic music can be heard and they start to follow the fence again. This fence symbolises white dominance but still manages to get the girls home. As Molly picks up Gracey we see how selfless Molly is and how she acts like a carer for people. When Riggs goes to the women’s ceremony, the music gets very eerie and the lighting goes out so much that you can barely make out the faces. This builds suspense especially when you hear the women chanting.
When Riggs stumbles you think he might be captured but instead he gets up and backs away. It is strange how a man with a gun backs away from some women with spears. A very happy and exciting sequence is when Molly is reunited with her mother. Very uplifting music can be heard which still makes it happy even though it is in the dark. There is no dialogue except for when Molly says ‘ I lost one’ this shows that it was more important for daisy’s safety than it was for hers which further shows how Molly takes the role of the carer.
The final scene is very moving since it tells the final part of the sad film. Molly’s voice has quite a lot of hatred in when she says ‘ That place’ and ‘That Mr Neville’. This makes the audience angry with Neville as well because we trust Molly. We also get very emotional when Molly talks about Gracey. The film is very good and should be watched by many people because it is very emotional and moving. This is done through a mixture of great camera shots and sounds and editing.
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