Belonging and alienation is the process of being either excluded or accepted by the society in which you live. Belong is a human conception, mostly considered a fundamental human need and a source of survival, safety, protection andhappiness. To belong is usually considered positive and essential for a successful existence: however a negative sense of belonging: found among the displaced, marginalised and uncared for can lead to many social, filial and personal problems that can be almost insurmountable for the individual.
The short trop fest film “ Be My Brother” by Genevieve Clay 2009, represents these ideas through the films central characters. The film deals with society and people with disabilities feeling displaced within society due to prejudices. It also displays the notions of disconnection and isolation within thefamilyhome of the main character and his brother. The viewer here develops a strong connection to the idea of alienation and not belonging. The short film “ Be My Brother” explores the concept of isolation through disabilities.
Richard the protagonist is born with a disability and is isolated from society. Richard feels as though he doesn’t exist around his brother Damien. As the film progresses, Richard the protagonist meets a girl names Amanda and she neglects him at first, though she discovers another side to him, and so form a relationship with him. Social acceptance is the process of affiliation with society, but within the film “ Be My Brother” it begins with the exclusion of the main character that has a disability. This is evident when Richard meets Amanda for the first time.
As she see’s Richard approaching, she immediately moves towards the edge of the seat. The wide shot used in this scene indicates Amanda’s discomfort, where it demonstrates her fear towards people who are physically different. Furthermore, as Richard offers his hand to Amanda for a handshake, she quickly touches his hand, and faces the other way. The close up shot within this scene reveals Amanda’s disgust towards Richard through hand gestures, where it emphasies her cruelty and superiority towards him.
Clothing in this segment plays a crucial role. Amanda is wearing black clothing, which portrays her social standing, which represents class, elegance, and wealth, whereas Richard is wearing brown clothing, expressing dull, inferior and being less important. The full shot used demonstrates the relationships between characters, and where they stand in society. In addition, social acceptance can be displayed within the family. Richard feels displaced around his brother Damien.
This is exemplified in the scene where Damien wearing a black hoodie with his hood up, incorporated with the wide shot depicts resentment and exclusion, where Damien feels embarrassed about his brother because he has a disability. The black hoodie symbolises something evil and depressed which contributes to the isolation Richard is experiencing. As Richard passes his hand with the audio recorder to Damien, Damien promptly tries to avoid Richard by moving his head. The close up shot allows the audience to see Damien’s facial expression conveying Damiens arrogance towards Richard.
Social acceptance is the key concept within the film “ Be My Brother”, where cameral angles and clothing play a crucial role in revealing the idea of feeling accepted and to belong within society. Disconnection and isolation is portrayed throughout the film between Richard and his brother. The negative sense of belonging, where someone feels isolated; found among the marginalised and uncared for can lead to anger and disappointment. The ideas of isolation can be seen at the beginning of the film. The extreme long shot at the beginning of the film reflects the setting, as Richard is disconnected from society.
The blur of the background enhances Richards loneliness and societies prejudice against people with disabilities. Furthermore, the aspect of displacement can be manifested in the segment where Damien is sitting by himself at the bus stop and Richard is standing up, expressing his point. The major quote Richard plays in his audio recording “ I am what I am, I can’t change that, my brother doesn’t seem to understand, he seems like he doesn’t want to be near me, I seem to always embarrass him and I don’t like to be ignored! shows evidence of self-expression where Richard seeks to be accepted by his brother and society. Anger and disappointment emerges within the audio recording which shows Richards frustration towards his brother, creating tension and indicating family breakdown.
However, Damien experiences a change of heart when he is unable to pay his bus fare. Richard steps in and pays the driver. The long shot used in this scene culminates Damien’s feelings towards his brother, creating a journey as he walks down the narrow bus path towards his brother and he is thinking and taking into account what his brother did for im and how he has treated his brother. The notions of anger, resentment and embarrassment slowly fade away as he takes off his hoodie and Richard hugs him. This important factor leads to acceptance with his brother and the formation of a positive family relationship. Disconnection and isolation is portrayed throughout the film between Richard and his brother, although it diminishes when Damien comes to the realisation that he is taking his brother for granted and thus the film shapes our understanding of belong and alienation.
Ultimately the short film “ Be My Brother” has further developed the understanding of belonging and alienation. Details of the social acceptance, disconnection and isolation portrayed throughout the film between Richard and his Brother, all expose “ belonging and alienation” as a human conception whereby to belong is usually considered positive and to not belong leads to marginalisation. The feeling of belonging means acceptance however if someone is under the threat of not belonging the feelings of isolation, anger and disappointment emerge.