Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) directed by Phillip Noyce, is a film I hold close to my heart and the story is of great significance to my family. Mahalo for choosing this film. The last time I watched Rabbit Proof Fence was at the Belgrave Twin Cinema in Armidale, NSW – my hometown – and also the town where my grandfather had seven of his siblings forcibly removed from him, by the Governing Authorities. My family, like the characters in Rabbit Proof Fence, were also affected and are apart of the ‘stolen generation’. It was extremely difficult for me to watch Rabbit Proof Fence; to remove myself from the content and story and try to concentrate on the plot.
Nonetheless, I struggled through my emotions. My grandfather would tell me stories of his childhood and about running or hiding from the Government vehicles. So the removal scene really stood out to me. When Molly, Daisy and Gracie were taken from their family, Noyce’s creative decision to change the point of view of the camera; from what the child would see looking out from within the car, to the family looking in at the children. These jolted frequent shots, creates a frantic and panic emotion for the viewer.
Other cinematic techniques I noticed, is the character development. Noyce was able to convey the relationship between mother and child within the three generations: grandmother, mother, and child. The relationship of the Indigenous female role had positive associations.
Another technique that really stood out to me was the use of mise en scene in the Chief’s office. Also the angle of the camera was not centred and I that emphasised or implied, that his point of view on the Indigenous people was coming from a distanced and uninformed perspective.
Finally, I think that way in which Noyce incorporates the ‘fence’ throughout the film has symbolic associations. Fences are physical barriers and borders that indicate where property ownership begins and ends. Fences are also a foreign and an introduced concept to the Indigenous population. The importance of the fence is evident, due to the title of the film. However, reoccurring images and scenes of the fence form a motif throughout the film, this was an effective filmic technique because it helps to remind the viewer to there is an ongoing battle between races and land ownership which is a theme in Rabbit Proof Fence.