In this scene, I wanted to establish the fact to the audience thatBilly is no boxer at all. To do this, all the camera angles andmovements have to put Billy in time, place and social setting. Theaction in this scene takes place in a hall, which has both boxers andballet dancers. When the scene begins, I use a tracking shot,following Billy as he enters into a world unknown to him. There is abooming voice of a heavily English-accented man, ordering all theboxers to listen to him. Then suddenly, Billy turns back, and I use along shot to show the Ballet dancers setting up their space. Billy isconfused, his mind is torn by the stereotype that the boys should doboxing, and the girls dancing. A low-angle shot shows the trainerinforming the boys that they should stick to their end, andconcentrate on boxing. After this, I use a long shot to show Billy’sfather bracing himself to watch how his son fares in the ring. Beingshown as he is behind a cage, the intention is to elicit the feelingof a son watching his son from outside the ring, ready to be madeproud by his fighting. Towards the end of the scene, Billy comicallyprepares himself to fight his opponent, while at the same time, thereis a ballet dancer watching him. I created two unique cameramovements, one for the intense masculine world, and another for thetender feminine world. The cameraman used shoulder shots, followingaround Billy in the ring as he tries to manoeuvre his way around theopponent. While he makes no logical sense in boxing, he is trying tofit in and show the trainer and his father that he is indeed capableof fighting. On the other hand, there is a smooth still long shot,showing a smiling ballet dancer, who is more interested in Billy’scomics, than the boxing itself. Then suddenly, there is a close-upshot of a fist that hits Billy across the face, sending him down.This culminates with an eye-level shot, showing Billy lying on thefloor. The eye-level shot serves the purpose of creating a linkagebetween Billy’s torn world and empathy from the audience.
Figure1: Eye level shot, to link Billy`s sorrow with the audience empathyfor him.
The main line in this scene is “you are a disgrace to the gloves’(Brenman, Finn, & Daldry, 2000). While preparing for this scene,I reminisced on the need the display a society construct of masculineproblems. This is what Billy faces as he enters into a new world, aworld where he is expected to thrive, not by anything, but plainly bybeing a male child. When Jackie Elliot shouts to Billy “you are adisgrace to those gloves”, I intended to use dialogue to show theEnglish tradition of passing down the tools of trade from father toson.
The critical lens for this particular scene is gender. The mainrevelation of the scene is the discovery of ballet by Billy, when heattends a regular boxing class. While Billy has been forced into themasculine world, the introduction of an all-female world forces hispersona to ‘fit in’. The main techniques that I used to supportthe gender theme, consequently stereotyping as well, are musicalsoundtracks, repetition and juxtaposition. The musical soundtrack isquite gentle with evenly distribute keys. This creates a classicalmood, which highlights the essence of traditions within the scene.However, in order not to lose the intensity created by male egoismand stereotype in the room, the smooth music is interrupted andjuxtaposed by the trainer’s stern orders. The main message isrepeated, that the boys should prepare to be boxers, and live up towhat is expected of them. At the same time, there is juxtaposition ofBilly and a ballet dancer, to create the intensity that isoverwhelming him.
Juxtaposition technique plays the role of showing the theme ofgrowing up, which is increasing sexual awareness. The awareness inBilly as a sexual being is the part where he finds himself being puttogether with the boys, and separated from where he feels that hebelongs, with the girls. In the scene, Billy contemplates with thesexual aspect of life, which is further complicated by the fact thatthe trainer and his father are both on his neck. To try to cancel thetoll it is having on him, I directed Billy to jump around in acomical way, while trying to convince his adversaries that he canbox. By doing this, I filled the scene with gender overtones, withoutlosing the tenderness of the weaker sex. At the back of the audienceminds, they understand that the 11-year-old is attempting to copewith the normal pressures of childhood.
In this scene, I used symbols and motifs to communicate the themes ofgender and stereotype. The shoes and gloves are symbols ofmasculinity, and are worn by the boy boxers that Billy joins in thering. The piano is a symbol of smoothness and tenderness, depictingthe feminine world of the ballet dancers. The wired barrier, whereBilly’s father is standing behind, symbolizes the people who arewatching Billy as he delivers what is expected of him, but end upbeing disappointed.
Figure2: The cage creates the separation between Billy and those watchinghim, who he finally disappoints.
Brenman, G., Finn, J., & Daldry, S. (2000). Billy Elliot[Motion Picture]. London, UK: Universal Studios.