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The Opening Scenes of Billy Elliot

            The opening scenes of the film Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry, helped introduce me to one of the main themes of the movie; that the realization of one boy's dream will be barred by three different hurdles on the way to achieving his goals. The opening scenes specifically show three different obstacles that will become further developed later in the film. These are Billy's social class, the gender stereotypes of the time in which he lives, and the opinions and beliefs of his family. .
             In one of the very first scenes of this movie, we get a tracking shot of the camera following Billy as he moves through the kitchen. Clearly, we can see how his surroundings are shabby and untidy. The house is small, and the inhabitants are clearly not rich. Their social class is also shown by the manner of speaking of Billy's family. They swear constantly, even at each other, as shown when Tony tells his little brother to "fuck off". Their accents are also very rough and harsh, exactly like a typical Northerner. Their grammar is also sometimes askew, as shown when at one point Billy says "Never played nought!" when Tony accuses him of playing his record player without permission. We also see a mid-close up of Tony as he holds a poster that reads STRIKE, saying "See you at the picket line, Dad". From this, we can tell that the two money-earners of the family are not collecting income. All of these elements combine to paint a picture of a lower class, poverty-stricken family. And as we can tell from the inserted dance sequence of Fred Astaire and the way that Billy mimics his dance moves that he has already developed a passion for dancing. Even though he says that he "felt a right sissy", he still evidently loved dancing. But with his family being in such an impoverished state, it is going to be a challenge to be able to pay for ballet lessons. Things would have to change drastically for Billy and his family, in order for them to be able to pay for his passion.

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