Belonging – movie trailer of Rabbit Proof Fence as a related text



When choosing related material, many students are drawn to film as a medium that can be readily accessed and understood. Perhaps they are familiar with a text and recognise its value in representing important concepts, yet developing a rich analysis can be difficult. My golden rule is for students to aim for a minimum of five different language techniques or features per text. Many students should aim for at least two solid analytical paragraphs per related text, with at least five techniques per paragraph.

Movie trailers, as short multimodal texts, are ideal for study and avoid the tendency for less able students to simply retell. If a student limits their response to a description of the textual content, they are limiting their ability to access higher marks. Relying on descriptive retell often sees a response attract a ‘C’ range result, or worse.

If you have prepared notes for the full movie of Rabbit Proof Fence, consider how the trailer reveals many significant elements of belonging and not belonging. Specifically, this trailer works well with the play Rainbow’s End as I mentioned in a presentation earlier this year.


  • sound transition from production company logos of traditional singing continues from a black screen through a montage of important shots of children and adults hugging
  • motif of white barbed wire stretches across a black screen with key phrases that explore different aspects of belonging: ‘a man’s crusade’ ‘a family torn apart’ ‘1500 miles from home’ These phrases are cut between close ups of children and lead us toward an understanding of the enormity of their journey
  • a chilling and authoritative male voice over represents the white attitude toward the ‘problem of half-castes’



  • the harrowing sequence where the children are stolen is shown and followed by a low angle shot of Neville to reinforce his power and control
  • he states “It all feels very strange … but after a few days you’ll feel quite at home”


  • this contrasts with the statement by Molly that “we’re going home to mother” which cuts into a shot of two women holding the fence as their only link to the children


  • a shift in pace is denoted by the ominous pulsing music as the children escape and are tracked
  • close up of map supports the tension of the hunt with Neville’s voice over finally stating “If they only understood what we are trying to do for them” allows the audience to linger on the true barbarity and long term suffering caused by the forced removal from home of generations of black children



  • music becomes louder and moves toward an uplifting crescendo, suggesting the positive climax as the girls trek across the desert
  •  title ‘from the director of PATRIOT GAMES and THE BONE COLLECTOR’ appeals to a broad audience who may be familiar with Phillip Noyce’s work and understand his ability to effectively convey drama
  • animation of words in movie title suggest a merging and sense of togetherness



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