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The Journey of Cultural Acceptance in the Film Looking for Alibrandi

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In the film Looking for Alibrandi, the director Kate Woods effectively positioned the audience to accept Josie's challenges growing up as an Italian-Australian in the 1990s.

Kate Woods is effective in the way, she manipulates the audience, to understand Josie's journey of self-acceptance. The film follows the main character ‘Josie' through her discovery of identity, throughout the course of her Year 12 school year. Josie struggles with balancing and belonging to both Italian and Australian heritage and tries to separate herself from her Italian culture, due to her belief that she is cursed. Josie at the beginning of the film feels like an outsider not only within her family but also at school as most students come from a wealthy Caucasian background. Josie believes she will never fully be accepted although this perspective changes through her journey of self-identity and acceptance through her senior year. Throughout the film, Josie has multiple relationships that challenge her identity, from culture conflict with her single mother and grandmother to the return of her father and on top of that dealing with boys and friends at school. Josie's interactions with the characters change her perspective and attitude. Josie's journey of cultural acceptance and discovery allows her to not feel like an outsider and cherish her family background as she learns to appreciate both her Italian and Australian heritage. Watchers of the film connect to the character of Josie because she is depicted as a typical teenager and the problems that Josie's faces are portrayed in a way that makes them relatable to young audiences.

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A Film Technique that has been used effectively by the director to convey Josie's journey of her identity, can be seen through voiceover narration and internal dialogue. The use of internal voiceovers illustrated that Josie was in deep thought or expressing her feelings. The voiceovers have been used effectively by the director as it deepened the audience's understanding on what is going on in the characters head, which gives the audience a clear understanding of what and how Josie is feeling, which allows the audience to see Josie's perspective. Another film technique that was used effectively was the use of the imagination scenes, were the saturated filter and slow motion was applied to the shot.

Kate Woods effectively positions the audience to accept Josie's journey of cultural acceptance, an example seen in the film is ‘tomato day', which effectively symbolizes multiculturalism in Australia. The sauce that Josie and her family make it a symbol of their Italian heritage. It is a tradition in their family that every year, they all come together to make sauce from scratch. The film starts and ends with this tradition, which shows how far Josie has come. At the beginning of the film, Josie doesn't participate as she believes its old fashioned and would rather hang out with her friends. This shows Josie's attitude at the start of the year, as she is ashamed and separates herself from her Italian culture. "You probably can't tell by looking at me, but actually I'm cursed" which reinforces the idea that Josie believes she's an outcast and doesn't belong. By the end of the film Josie's journey of cultural acceptance and discovery through year 12, allows her to not feel like an outsider and become closer to her culture. Josie is no longer embarrassed by the tradition and invites her friends and boyfriend to join in. "I'm Christina and Michael's daughter and we're not cursed, we're blessed." This quote shows Josie's Journey and her acceptance that her difference is not a bad thing.

A Film technique that has been used by the director effectively in this scene, is through the use of the strong sepia saturation at the beginning of the film. This technique has been used effectively as it gives the audience the impression, to believe the scene is in the past or is old fashioned. This has been intentionally done by the director as Josie believes the tradition is old fashioned and is something that isn't apart of the present life, and when Josie begins to talk the film returns to normal colour. Another film technique that has been used effectively, is the use of shot sizes. This is evident in the beginning scene when the director used close-ups to emphasis Josie's facial expression of her eyes rolling.

The director Kate Woods has been effective the way she positions the audience to accept Josie journey of cultural acceptance and this can be seen through Josie's journey and through "tomato day'. The director Kate Woods effectively manipulates the audience to accept Josie's challenges growing up as an Italian-Australian in the 1990s.

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