BILLY his ace. The growth in this
BILLY ELLIOT The film Billy Elliot emphasizes the notion of ‘Into the world’ by describing concepts of growth, transition and change. Whether this change is physical, emotional or intellectual, there is a transition by the individual from one stage to another.
The individuals had to face many barriers and obstacles which needed to be overcome. Billy overcame stereotypes as did other characters in the film. The themes of emotional growth and stereotypes are constantly explored in this film and emphasized by the techniques and dialogue. The theme of ‘into the world’ mirrors by the theme of individual growth.Billy grows as an individual as he is able to make the transition between being a minor’s son during 1984-85, expected to follow a traditional path into mining and participating professional ballet. This transition is reflected through the scenes when billy is seen running the streets of Everington with his boxing gloves around his shoulder and the later scene, Billy watches the girls dances, he is intrigued. The techniques in this scene is motif where looking through doors and windows seeing mrs Wilkinson and Billy is given a new opportunity.
Additionally there is a pan of the students wearing the ballet shoes, showing the pan of the feet where the shot of dainty ballet, ballet shoes and billys boots contrast. This shot reinforces ideas that billy is different, yet it also highlights his willingness to take risks and to stand out and doesn’t fit in yet. billys transition ‘into the world’ isn’t always ‘smooth running’ as he faces many barriers set out by society, especially in relations to gender roles when jacky says ‘lads do boxing and wrestling.. not bloody ballet’ demonstrates the stereotypes held in society.
Also the slow zoom in on billy ‘dancing’ with boxing bags goes from a long shot to a close up shot on his ace. The growth in this scene where billy is discovering a world that he longing for an outlet to express himself in a natural way but he is uncertain and not an acceptable thing to be a part of. The change in family, societal expectations, passions/dreams/goals and future opportunities. As the scene progresses, these are early signs of billys eventual success of close relationships as the shot is more to the same side of the barre.
Billy does not fit into the boxing hall world. This is made through negative dialogue, “you’re a disgrace” … the slow motion fall emphasizes the impact of failure. Billy and jacky have a distant volatile relationship. The director uses the use of long shots of jacky passively observing his shout of ‘hit him billy’! Further demonstrates the unhealthiness of their interactions.
Within the Christmas scene billy is accepting of his friend’s confession, he isn’t threatened. Jacky is at a breaking point, tense and emotional and very short fuse.Michael is brave, he trusts billy with his secret, he is more mature than billy (as experienced with alcohol). The position of drinking song and smashing of the piano, the celebrations were shallow. The close up of expressions, and eye contact and light in the ring is innocent, pure, exposed and vulnerable.
The focus shot of family with party hats decorations with jacky crying, there is deep contrast in emotions. Also the snow man scene highlights dark which the secrets of alcohol and sexuality revealed there are close up shots that show facial expressions.The mid shot of the boys with George in the centre background and the boys in the light, George is in shadows This reveals jackys world falling apart, smashing his wife’s piano for firewood because of the strike is the final straw, and crying at Christmas lunch. Billy expressesingly saying ‘just because I like ballet doesn’t mean im a poof you know’. This shows that billy is certain about maintaining his gender and sexuality as a dancer.
In the following scene billy is now confident yet slightly fears to dance for his dad.Jacky doesn’t know how to react to billys undeniable talent. However Michael is observing and supportive.
The use of strong lighting reveals billy talent is being exposed to his dad. The music is strong rhythm and dynamics match emotions of pride and defiance. The dance reflects billy, through soccer moves tapping, pirouetting (this shows how he’s developed). This is a confrontation through dance, which acts to bring billy and jacky together even while it highlights their differences; billy is no longer afraid to dance in front of his father as he has grown in confidence.The final scene exposes what each character has turned into. The elliots are working together as a family, billys cause has united them, there still not ‘happy’ but the bonds between them are strong and healthier. The techniques emphasis the mid shot of billy and jacky responding in the same way to grandma, sitting next to each other and bringing unity.
At the cemetery where the first time jacky laughs being sis by side and then on the ground, proximity. Billy looking through the window/grate to ballet class where he has entered another world.Jacky and tony, the mid shot of them fighting for the suitcase, has brought them to unit. Tony outside a different bus, looking in.
All these techniques express the unity between the family. The family has united and grown together in support of billy, especially the renewed closeness and affection between billy and jacky, and even tony lets his true love for billy. The change is imminent, billy leaving and men will be going back to the mines, then billys opportunity comes at the same time as strike failure, this change is not for everyone.Billys has shifted into another world away from mrs Wilkinson, ‘this is when you go out and find life and all those other things’. Michael a young boy is left behind in village with the London accent, wearing make up in public, unrecognizing to his neighbours, confident in his sexuality and friendship with billy. The minors world has remained static on the outside but we know the Elliot family has transformed. The night of billys big night has come, Michael is transformed, confident, his accent has softened.
Tony and jacky are tence, tony leading jacky as they are both emotional. The music is swan lake which is stirring and powerful. The long shot is imposing builing again stating that men are small. The close up of jacky crying and breathing in is a momentous occasion.
Billy as the swan highlights a bird motif in its final form, the lift from above and the surreal glow around him. The front shot of billys leap on stage reveals the electric moment. Billy has grown up and successfully transitioned into this new world, he has flourished in ballet.Tony and jacky have grown enough to move between both worlds feeling discomfort. Michael also completed transformation, transitioning into the London world of art.
Billy has transformed into a muscular, masculine star; he has successfully leapt into his new world. It is clear that the concept of coming ‘into the world’ is displayed in Billy Elliot, through language and film techniques. There is an emphasis on emotional and intellectual growth which can be seen through the emotional development Billy undergoes.The breaking of stereotypes is also mentioned throughout the film.
In fact, Billy himself breaks the stereotype of a tough male attitude and rather embraces and excels at ballet. His acceptance of his talent helps him grow throughout the film and looks into the concept of ‘into the world’. Through various film techniques the audience is able to understand the concept of ‘into the world’ by looking into the depicting the emotional stages the characters go through in order to reach their full potentials.