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Shame - Film Analysis

            Films are often constructions of reality, offering representations of the current issues within a society's culture. "Shame" is a 1988 Australian film that reflects some of the pernicious issues that have become naturalized in our real-life society, such as a deep rooted rape culture upheld by a dominant male discourse. The film follows a barrister, Asta Cadell, as she travels through rural Ginborak and witnesses the tragic journey of rape victim Lizzie Curtis. This representation of society exposes the detrimental effects of a male hegemony, and the subsequent rape culture that flourishes, effectively working to expand the viewer's social awareness of the issues surrounding gender, allowing them to identify and reject misogyny around them. Shame aptly demonstrates the impacts of a male dominant discourse through the effective use of the film techniques, most predominantly through the use of dialogue, misè en scene, and characterization.
             Audio is used within "Shame" as a way to manifest how rape culture is a product of a patriarchal society, representing how the social perception of judgement or retribution from this dominant male discourse reinforces these misogynistic structures in real life society. Within the film, dialogue is used to expose how the sexual exploitation of women is an intrinsic part of Australian culture, displaying how rape has become a naturalized part of society. In "Shame," after Lizzie presses charges against the men who gang raped her, the men at the bar collect money for bail, reasoning that, "A few lads just acted as nature intended." This casual dismissal of this sexual assault is similar to the commonly used idiom, "Boys will be boys," revealing how this behaviour has been accepted by society as a standard or instinctive way to act. Dialogue is also used to represent how social judgment from an oppressively male dominant culture is used to blame the victim, to shame them into silence.

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