‘Strictly Ballroom’ Baz Luhrmann – Reviews Rants and Rambles
Apr 11, Vintage Film Review: Strictly Ballroom is about two ballroom dancers Another problem I have is the fact that there are far too many subplots associate Cindy Lauper's “Time After Time” with Scott and Fran's relationship. Apr 13, From the get-go, Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom the Musical shows a Scott and Fran's tentative first steps, for example - are well handled. May 10, Before it was a movie, Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom was a stage show Like Kinky Boots, Strictly Ballroom is partly about a small business in trouble. Things get positively West Side Story-ish when Scott follows Fran . Party Today proves Second City is at its best when satirizing human relationships.
The film constructs its own unique world where the characters exist only to dance and win competitions. Normal routines of family life and social life take second place to the demands of dancing.
It is a world where tradition is in conflict with innovation and change.Scott & Fran -- Strictly Ballroom -- If Only
This conflict is further heightened by the clash of cultural traditions of the old world and the new, the influence of Spanish dance versus those of the ballroom tradition. The conflict is resolved in the final dance sequence where the new steps which draw on both traditions are seen to win. A new equilibrium is established which respects the best of both worlds. We need to be aware that this is a film!
Strictly Ballroom: Cheat Sheet | Movie News | SBS Movies
The whole point of this Comparative Section is to make you more aware of these techniques and of the underlying symbolism in the story being presented before us. Much of the imagery of a film or a play or novel, for that matter may only emerge after a number of viewings.
In the opinion of many, this is what makes a film great, the fact that you can watch it again and again, not just on a literal level, on the level of the story, but on a deeper metaphorical level as well.
The Musical Score When you listen to the music in this film you will begin to see that certain tunes become associated with certain characters or groups. The Blue Danube Waltz is constantly linked with the Federation and the hold that it has over its members. Once you hear this tune, even though there is no mention of Barry Fife and his organisation, you begin to realise that the power of the organisation over the individual is being asserted.
So the music acts as a symbol. Likewise with the percussion-driven music that Scott dances to as Fran peeps in at him, and the music that Doug dances to in secret. We have here the basic music of the individual dancer and the elaborate orchestral score of the Strauss waltz being juxtaposed. This points up one of the major themes of the film — how an organisation can stifle individual flair and initiative. The Flamenco music also comes to stand for something more than itself. The use of the Spanish language and dance also take on symbolic significance when they are used to assert group identity and exclude outsiders.
Settings The differences and similarities between these two worlds are referred to symbolically in the settings used in the film. There are four distinct locations within the film: Each setting is distinct and separate, which helps to underline the symbolic differences between them.
Certain aspects of the settings take on extra meaning e. The basement is a place that Doug uses to hide away the things of his past. The lighting is used throughout the film to show characters in a good or bad light. Barry Fife and Shirley are constantly shown in light that distorts their features. The effect is added to by the close-up use of the camera.
Fairy-Tale motif In the dressing room scene, we are expected to be able to make the connection between what is happening here and our knowledge of fairy-tales. We are expected to be able to recognize the Evil Stepmother and the Ugly Sisters and we are reminded of an earlier scene of Fran working, sprinkling the floor of the studio, as everyone else dances around the floor.
She is represented here as a Cinderella figure who does all the work. Costume Items of dress, spectacles, hairpieces and hair styles all form part of the imagery of the film and take on symbolic meaning to back up the characterisation and themes of the film. Cinematic Props Various props assume symbolic significance as we get more familiar with the film. This hints that Doug himself is somehow locked into the past. All the photographs and trophies take on symbolic significance in the building up of character and theme.
The only thing Shirley lives for is to win trophies. These are knocked over and cast down at the end of the film, an image of the way Scott and Fran have brought about a revolution in the world of the Australian Dance Federation. Prominent themes in Strictly Ballroom include: Many of the relationships treated in this film centre on the dancing world.
Scott is at odds with Barry Fife and his mother because of his refusal to conform to the particular style of dancing required by the Pan Pacific Competition. When he meets Fran their relationship flourishes through their strong dancing partnership. However, the main relationship, the one that gives the film its romantic thrust, is the one between Fran and Scott.
‘Strictly Ballroom’ Baz Luhrmann
She is in love with Scott from the start but he is blind to her true worth. She lacks confidence in herself. There is also the added dimension that the parents in this tale are using their children to achieve what they themselves have failed to achieve.
Scott tells us that he has been training to win the Pan Pacific competitions since he was six years old. Obviously, it was his parents who decided on this goal for him. Fran too has to challenge her father and the control he tries to exert on her life. On another level we have a conflict of cultural as well as group identity against which the individual characters must seek to define themselves. But this is all a dirty lie, meant to cover up a shocking betrayal.
At the same time, plans are put into place to guarantee Scott cannot win, no matter what he does. But why would this group of glitterati go to such lengths to stop Scott from dancing new moves?
Why is he such a risk to them? And that means they lose their power and their jobs. In the words of Chairman Barry Fife: This whole movie is satire. The Pan Pacific Grand Prix, the event that tears these people apart, is nothing more than a local, amateur dancing competition. This makes lines like the following from Barry Fife wonderfully absurd: Les Kendell sprouts malapropisms every time he speaks. Shirley is so tan she's become orange. Fife plays the heavy from behind a shockingly bad toupee.
Ken Railings, the evil competitor, is an alcoholic hot tub salesman. Even Doug Hastings, the henpecked father, has a terrible secret and a great dance scene. And the cast of dancers are painted and feathered to the absurd. Many compare this move to Dirty Dancing, but the two really are very different. Whereas Dirty Dancing was entirely serious, Strictly Ballroom is thoroughly tongue in cheek. I also must say the choreography in Strictly Ballroom is superior.
Dirty Dancing was very typical Hollywood. It was designed to be flashy and, where it was meant to be sexy, it was obvious and oversexed. The dancing in Strictly Ballroom, by comparison, showed tremendous technical skill. You felt like you were peeking in on dancers testing their limits in private, as compared to Dirty Dancing which felt staged. And unlike the over-sexed Dirty Dancing, I would describe the dances between Fran and Scott as intimate and sensual.
- Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom loses something on stage
- Strictly Ballroom the Musical sparkles but falls short
- Strictly Ballroom: Cheat Sheet
Dirty Dancing strikes me as the kind of dancing that would be fun to watch, but Strictly Ballroom strikes me as the kind of dancing you wished you could do. So how does Ayn Rand fit into this? Scott, like Roark, is a true talent, a savant. He's also unorthodox, seeing a better way. They see him as a threat to their way of life. His talent exposes the lack of theirs, and they would rather society be deprived of what he can achieve than have their own deficiencies laid bare.
Thus, they try to sway him, they try to threaten him, they even co-opt those closest to him.