The Tree (2010)

Australian / French production directed by Julie Bertuccelli from the book Our Father Who Art in the Tree by Judy Pascoe.

The Tree is a family tale about loss, rebirth and the power of imagination. (from DVD)

An enormous and beautiful tree spreads widely in all directions beside an elegant country house. Both are well past their prime. These two take on roles of their own in this fine film about a family coping with the death of a parent. Dawn and her four kids each carry on in their own ways, and for some the tree takes on a special significance. So what to do when the inevitable happens and the tree, and other forces of nature, threaten?

Judy Pascoe’s book surprises after the film as it is told from the point of view of eight year old Simone, who also has a pivotal role in the film. At 166 pages it looks like a good candidate for a belonging text as well.

During the writing of Our Father Who Art in the Tree I drew heavily on the power of the Australia landscape to infuse the story with place. I guess the point I was trying to make was that even in the blandest Australian suburb the power of the landscape is inescapable. Judy Pascoe.

Another interesting place to go from The Tree is to the theme song, To Build a Home, performed by The Cinematic Orchestra, featuring Patrick Watson. (Lyrics)


Representation of Belonging

Anxiety about one’s status within a group may result in self-imposed isolation. However, such isolation can facilitate independent thought.

A thought-provoking video from English teacher, Bianca Hewes, as a model representation of belonging. Students also had to write a rationale of their representation. See the task. See Bianca’s rationale for the video in the comments below 🙂

Occupy Wall Street: A “Work of Art”

An article by Eve Ensler, Reader Supported News
11 October 10

The occupy movement began mid year and has persisted with varying enthusiasm across many parts of the world. It can be seen in the light of belonging: as a protest movement or as a sign of disenfranchisement. The 99% evokes the silent majority which politicians have called upon in former times, the people power of the Philippines in the waning Marcos era and the more recent events of the Arab Spring.

Eve Ensler’s article describes her visit to the occupation and also quotes a variety of participants she met.

This is how Ensler interprets what she sees:

Occupy Wall Street is a work of art, exploding onto a canvas in search of form, in search of an image, a vision.

In a culture obsessed with product, the process of creation is almost unbearable. Nothing is more threatening than the moment, the living breathing ambiguity of now. We have been trained to name things, own things, brand things and in doing so control and consume them. Well, the genius of Occupy Wall Street is that so far it is not brandable and that’s what makes its potential so daunting, so far reaching, so inclusive, and so dangerous. It cannot be defined and so it cannot be sold, as a sound bite or a political party or even a thing. It can’t be summed up and dismissed.

This is a very articulate opinion piece about Occupy Wall Street which describes it as a community, and a movement to be celebrated. Since this was written there has been much more written, spoken and filmed which could be worth exploring for a variety of views and interpretations.

Are we there yet?

By David Levithan

This is a book about brothers who are years apart in age, but possibly living on different planets when it comes to attitude.

Elijah is 16, enjoying the last years of high school and very laid back; Danny is 23, organised, and overthinking a promising career. They were good mates way back but not these days. By some trickery their parents engineer a joint holiday for the two in Italy – who could say no? Soon Elijah has fallen for Julia, a fellow traveller, and the brothers see little of each other. Then Julia meets Danny and the real challenges begin.

This book is a meditation on what it means to be brothers at home, abroad and in life’s journey. And it’s a good read.


Browse Inside this book

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Angry Boys

Angry BoysThere are many belonging threads to this comedy series from the irrepressible Chris Lilley, but my favourite is the one about the brothers, Nathan and Daniel Sims from Dunt in South Australia.

These two survivors from Lilley’s previous creation, We Can Be Heroes, are at first glance as far from the truly literary as you could imagine. Yet in many ways they represent themes and ideas common in literature and mythology. Twins, doubles, doppelgangers, shadows, reflections, opposites, the daemons of Pullman’s His Dark Materials – all allow authors to represent the duality of human experience and human nature.

Nathan and Daniel are identical except that Nathan is deaf. Daniel volunteered his eardrum to replace one of Nathan’s, which would have made them completely identical. Ironically, the operation failed. So Nathan remains deaf and silent; Daniel is loud and controlling. Daniel uses Nathan to have fun – tricking him and facilitating Nathan’s risky and antisocial behaviour. But at a certain level Nathan is out of his control.

When life changes occur Daniel opposes loudly – notably when his mother gets engaged and when she decides it will be for the best for Nathan to go away to a school for the deaf. But Nathan is joyful for his mum and cautiously happy at the prospect of going away to school.

It his reaction to the prospect of Nathan going away which finally shows that Daniel loves his brother and depends on him. It seems in many ways that Daniel will not be wholly himself without Nathan. Being a twin is a powerful symbol of belonging.

33 Postcards

Pauline Chan’s deceptively sweet drama about a young Chinese orphan’s search for belonging and acceptance is underscored by gritty realism and a precise eye for the daily rhythms of Sydney life. Sydney Film Festival website

Catch this film at selected cinemas from 3rd November 2011, or watch for it on DVD.

RN’s Movie Time reviewed 33 Postcards and also interviewed the director, Pauline Chan, who gives an insight into the film and talks about the differences between Chinese and Australian film industry practices.