Go Back To Where You Came From – Australian documentary SBS (2012)

Go Back To Where You Came From – Australian documentary SBS (2012)

Discuss how the issue of refugees in Australia has been constructed in different media work


– Voice-over: “Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Boat people. It’s the issue that dominates our headlines.” Establishes and dives straight into the topic of asylum seekers, making it discernible for viewers as to what is going to be discussed throughout the full length of the documentary. It also makes use of engrossing language, through saying “our” it captures the attention of viewers and makes them feel included with their opinion regarding the issue ongoing in Australia.
– Archival footage: Presents a wide range of footage unveiling the despondency of asylum seekers as they are transported by boat through raging waves, as well as the rejecting nature of Australian people with one woman saying directly into the camera, “Go to hell!” This is followed by a shot revealing the destruction of a boat full of refugees.
– (Non-diegetic sound) Background music: The music is heightened for a dramatic effect, upon introducing the 6 Australian people getting involved in the issue classified as a “social experiment”. Its highest and most theatrical point is upon the introducing of the Australian overseeing the experiment (as leader) called “Dr David Corlett” who is supposedly a refugee expert. This encourages viewers to respect his position and feel as though he is strongly opinionated in regards to the treatment of asylum seekers.
– Mise en scene: Specific footage has been selected to establish the SBS’ desired truth, which puts forward the ideology that oblivious nature of Australians who live without being fully aware of the drastic conditions faced daily by locals of Somalia, Indonesia and Afghanistan (two war-torn countries). This is further exemplified as in closing shot of the intro, Imogen Bailey states directly to the interviewer “Australians don’t know about it, and it’s disgusting!” before the title of the documentary is presented.

After Intro

– (Non-diegetic sound) Background music: Use of a piano playing slow, sorrowful music as the woman Sahra, a local living in Indonesia, starts to get emotional on camera as her husband talks about the traumatic loss of his brother in Afghanistan. This encourages viewers to empathise with the woman, and feel enticed further into the narrative of the documentary and its story.
– Captioning/Subtitles: Use of a caption which reads what Ali Khan discusses, stating “This ship only for 10 person not for 110 person”. This creates an emphasis on the significance of what is being said, and exemplifies the fear of the asylum seekers and their desperation to escape from their countries.
– Close-up shots: A close-up shot which focuses in on the facial expression of Sahra as she clearly states that she agrees with her husband Ali, that they are going to try to go by boat together and knowingly take the risk. This creates an emphasis on her sincerity in what has been said, and that they are truly this distraught to escape Indonesia.
– Diegetic sound + Montage: Presents the laughter of the child (of Ali and Sahra) who enjoys the company of the Australians, as one of the men plays badminton with him and loses to him. Projects an emotional bond between the boy and the Australian, and as a ramification of this it also creates a bond between the boy and the viewers, positioning them to feel sympathetic towards the boy in the conditions he must face growing up in Indonesia.
– Close-up shot/Depth of field: The camera crew focus in on the facial expression of the mother being discussed, as her daughter explains how the family came to be living in Jakarta. This is done in an aesthetic style, accenting on the emotional state of the mother whilst her daughter describes of her being pregnant and beaten in Somalia until the infant was lost. This again, positions the audience to feel solicitous towards the asylum seekers and to be on the side of importing refugees into Australia to save them from such circumstances comprised of rape and violence. It reflects the humanness of the refugees as the mother finds it uncomfortable to look into the lens of the camera whilst in her emotional state, which is something many Australian people would be able to relate to from their own context and experiences.
– Interview: In a reflective interview with Angry Anderson, as a representative of Australia, he broods over how appreciative he is now of the life he has back at home after having only spent a single night with an Indonesian family. As a ramification of this, Australian viewers are influenced to feel the same way.
– Voice-over: “Fishing crews normally earn a dollar a day.” – statistics reflecting the severe conditions of people living in foreign countries such as Indonesia.
– Interview: In an interview with Peter Reith, he professes his belief that he finds it difficult to understand why innocent people are labelled as “people smugglers” when they have no motive and no understanding of what they’re actually doing and are merely just being taken advantage of and bribed by other obscure people.
– Animation: An animation presenting the distance to be travelled by boat from Indonesia to Christmas Island, allowing Australian viewers to recognise the little distance between the two islands.
– (Non-diegetic sound) Background music: Suspenseful music creates a tense atmosphere, positioning Australian viewers to prepare themselves for the horrific conditions endured through regularly by asylum seekers when travelling by boat. And they are then able to refer back to the animation and how much further away Australia is from Christmas Island.
– Voice-over: Tense atmosphere reinforced through the narrator stating that “lifejackets are rarely provided” and that there are usually at least a 100 passengers rather than in this scenario, 6.
– Voice-over: “In 2001, the ‘Seavex’ went down in this same stretch of ocean. 353 lives were lost, 146 were children.” This creates an emphasis on the harsh conditions of travelling by sea, as innocent families were merely trying to escape and live peacefully and safely in Australia.
– Actuality: A long shot of the boat voyaging through the darkness of the night creates an emphasis on the uncertainty of placing people’s lives in the hands of this cheap, insecure boat.
– Actuality: Actual footage of a typical prison cell for two people, which is ironically presented as being more habitable for human beings than the homes the Australians had visited in Somalia and Indonesia. This will be confronting for Australian viewers, as they are positioned to fathom that for many refugees sent to the Christmas Island Detention Centre, they would feel as though this is a more fitting environment to live in than their actual home.


Written Investigation: Social Issues Plan

The social issue: War and conflict

Media works: Philippe Mora’s 1974 documentary ‘Swastika’ and Ari Folman’s 2008 documentary ‘ Waltz with Bashir’.

These documentaries promote anti-war values through the horrors and destruction captured by devices of media. ‘Swastika’ explores the propaganda used by Adolf Hitler during his reign, and ‘Waltz with Bashir’ examines Folman’s past life as a veteran of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Documentary conventions: Archival footage, juxtapositioning, re-enactments, montages, interviews and background music

Body Paragraph 1 Summary : Mora’s documentary, the use of Hitler’s home videos and the impact it made. Represented Hitler as the ideal father/family man in spite of the destruction and significant loss he caused. As a ramification of this, Mora proposes the ideology that Hitler was still a human being and cannot be misconceived as being evil or a devil, because he was in actuality doing what he believed would benefit all of Germany in its state following World War I. In relation to notions of war and conflict, this enlightenment of Hitler’s personal life allows audiences to foresee that all human beings will have their disagreements and disputes; thus making war an issue that has and always will be present for mankind.

Body Paragraph 2 Summary : Folman’s documentary, the use of animations and impractical graphics to summarise the soldiers’ experiences in the Lebanon war as well as his own. This paragraph will be focusing on their irrational actions on the battlefield such as the delusional soldier sitting on the couch repeating like a mad man, “fast forward”. Also another key example is the scene where one of the soldiers stole a fellow comrade’s MAG and waltzed with it in open fire. And a third example is when the group of soldiers first arrived to Lebanon and opened fire on an innocent family of locals in a family car.

Body Paragraph 3 Summary : Mora’s documentary, the use of Hitler’s propaganda and the persuasive influence it had on Germany’s people. Represents Hitler as a celebrity, an idol and the most powerful figurehead of all of Germany. This demonstrates the manipulative nature of Hitler as he lured his own people to following his personal ideals and beliefs. This is reflected upon through German soldiers going by his commands and murdering innocent Jewish men, women and children.

Body Paragraph 4 Summary : Folman’s documentary, the use of archival footage in the final moments and the contrasts it had with the animations of real-life interviews. The dramatic impact it had as these animations were suddenly brought to physical existence in the final 10 minutes of the documentary. Identify and discuss Folman’s closing comment concerning war, a comment which can be attained by the audience through watching these closing minutes of the documentary.


Agoraphobia: Refined Shot List & Script

Agoraphobia Shot list Full

agoraphobia script

Myself and Peri have scrapped our original short film ‘The Blues’ which was comprised of a similar storyline. We scrapped it due to it having too much dialogue for a 5 minute short film and too many characters to develop. We have chosen to go with ‘Agoraphobia’ which focuses centrally on a single person’s ability to cope with loss within the family and overcome feelings of fear and depression. Through having one central character, the audience are able to more easily create a particular bond with the character and form a relationship in which they care for the character’s well-being.

Waltz With Bashir – Ari Folman

Plays with the conventions of a Documentary due to it having been animation rather than your archetypal realist. Folman has chosen to do so possibly to be able to use re-enactments of certain events that would be too abstract to re-enact in a realistic and down-to-earth sense with real-life actors. Such as Carmi’s dream from the “Love Boat”.

  • A pack of 26 dogs with evil faces (glowing yellow eyes) that have “come to kill” – Boaz
  • Re-enactment of a war in Lebanon – a squad of soldiers sneaking into a village. Executed as if it were a flash-back. Bashir was forced to take out a dog that posed as a threat as it may have barked the entire village awake.
  • Sensual, deep background music played as Folman drives home at night, this occurs as he experiences a collection of memories arising within his own mind.
  • Interview with Folman’s “lawyer friend” at 6 30 in the morning. Folman seeks answers as to why Boaz’s dream about dogs sparkled certain memories that were completely unrelated to the dream.
  • Re-enactment of a visual of people having been researched about memories from their childhood. Segments of a child wandering around a festival with their parents.
  • Camera tracking alongside Folman and Carmi as they walk from Carmi’s car to his house in the snowy weather together. Positions audience to feel as though they are a part of the story.
  • Re-enactment of a group of soldiers being transported to war, partying on the boat at night with their mates and drinking. This is accompanied with a voice-over by Folman as he explains what the look into the past was about.
  • Interview with Folman’s friend Carmi in his house by the fireplace, Carmi talks about that same experience he had and how he vomited that night on the “Love Boat” and passed out.
  • Re-enactment of Carmi’s dream with an enlarged giant naked woman swimming in backstroke to the boat, and taking him away from the boat and swimming away with him resting on her chest. This too, is comprised with a voice-over from Carmi giving further insight into the dream.
  • Re-enactment of Carmi’s recollection of what had happened once the boat had landed on an island. Out of fear Carmi and the other soldiers alongside him opened fire “like maniacs”, resulting in them murdering a whole family in a Mercedes.
  • Re-enactment of Folman’s recollection of how he was placed in command of a tank with a group of soldiers. They were ordered to “get the bodies of the dead and dump them”. They were firing everywhere at anyone, again most probably out of fear of dying.
  • Background music of a song: “Good morning, Lebanon” as Folman and his interviewee talk about how they had time to muck around in the tank and take photos, having a good time before action.
  • Re-enactment of Folman’s interviewee’s memory of having his squad ambushed and their commander killed. There was a sudden explosion and all the soldiers escaped the tank “hysterically” and fled in zig zags. In the re-enactment the interviewee appeared to have been the only survivor as his comrades were gunned down alongside and behind him.
  • Re-enactment of Folman’s interviewee talking about how he swam south away from the men who attacked him and felt at ease as the sea was apparently, “really calm, no waves”.
  • A montage of tanks, soldiers and missiles embarking on war and attacking each other mercilessly and without hesitation. Segments of soldiers firing javelins at cars, Tanks being blown up by mortars and etc are displayed.
  • Juxtapositioning of classic music played as a group of soldiers searched for terrorists in the jungle and are attacked by a boy who fires a missile and destroys their convoy. The soldiers retaliate by opening fire on the boy, killing him with ease in a series of gun shots.
  • Interview with Folman and a woman in an office who talks about an amateur photographer who captured photographs reflecting the war and destruction that had been caused in Lebanon and nearby regions. There is also a voice-over included from the woman’s voice.
  • A montage of Folman when he had just returned home and everyone around him was moving 10x faster than him, reflecting how significantly things had changed since he had left. He was blown away by how the people were living in ignorance of the war and all the mayhem that was occurring in other countries.
  • Re-enactment of a soldier taking a MAG of another soldier by force, waltzing out into open fire and shooting in all directions like a mad-man dancing with his own gun.
  • Re-enactment of a woman buried underneath debris, only leaving her head above the rim and visible to survivors and bystanders. “A head of curls covered in dust.”
  • Archival Footage of women suffering and crying over the losses made from the massacre, in particular their dead children. This archival footage also presents collections of dead bodies throughout the entire village, several different shots with dead men, women and children. Zooming in on their motionless facial expressions as they rest covered in debris and filth and grime.
  1. How did the film make you feel? Explain your responses, making references to moments from the film to illustrate your points. 

The film made me feel somewhat intrigued as a result of my lack of knowledge regarding Lebanon and Beirut. In all honesty I was not even aware that there was a Lebanon war in recent years. Having said that, the documentary was still able to shock me by the presenting of horrible scenarios 18 year-olds had to endure through. This had a large impact on myself as a year from now I will be the same age. Experiences include the squadron of soldiers arriving on the beach and immediately spraying the first car they saw out of fear, resulting in the death of an entire family of innocent people.

2.  How closely did the film match the expectations you had from the trailer and the poster? 

The film did not match the expectations I had from the poster (I did not see the trailer) because I did not expect an animated documentary to be so graphically disturbing and insightful into the horrors of the Lebanon war.

3.  How would you categorise this film if you were to describe it to someone who hadn’t yet seen it? 

I would categorise this film to be more of an animated film rather than a documentary, simply because this was not your archetypal documentary as a result of it being presented in animation form and exploring surrealistic scenarios at times (such as Carmi’s dream on the “Love Boat). I would categorise it as a disturbing animated film that explores the Lebanon war in detail.

4. Now consider the film in terms of genre. In what ways does Waltz with Bashir qualify as a documentary? What generic conventions do you remember seeing in the film?  Beyond war and documentary, what other genres could Waltz with Bashir be placed in? 

Waltz with Bashir makes thorough use of interviews, archival footage, voice-overs, background music and re-enactments. It is by means of these documentary conventions that Waltz with Bashir can be considered as a documentary in spite of it having been predominantly comprised of animations and on occasion tellings of surreal experiences and dreams. This film could be placed in other genres such as animation for this very reason, as well as biography because it is the self-telling of Folman’s experiences and involvement in the Lebanon war.

Swastika (1974) – Philippe Mora

  • Background Music – As the Swastika (Nazi) symbol is spinning out with the usage of special effects, protesting and background music from Germany’s chanting can be overheard.
  • Germany 1933-1939
  • Follows the work of a group of mailmen going throughout Germany to deliver newspapers to citizens (propaganda?)
  • The movement of a steam train – symbolising the passing of time
  • A group of neat women dressed in reasonably formal attire singing hymns as they arrive at a farm.
  • Archival Footage from various filmmakers cut together to make it flow. From all this propaganda footage this is why they went down this path.
  • Everyone’s organised and working, all people presented on-screen are dressed in suits and uniforms. Structured lives of farmers, soldiers, scouts and students and etc.
  • In the 1930s, colour had just been discovered by German filmmakers. Film was so important in the utilisation of propaganda.
  • Archival Footage – Art culture presented through opera, fitting the Nazi morale. The low-angles of the Nazi flags as a camera tracks alongside a building. Unveils that these flags were distributed all over German cultures.
  • Monuments built in the honoring of the symbolic and highly influential symbol.
  • A crowd of thousands of German men, women and children waving their miniature flags with great enthusiasm. This reveals how truly proud they were as a nation of Hitler and his motives. They also shown using their iconic hand sign. The enormous cheering and praising of Hitler is heard as he passes through the crowds by means of transportation.
  • The Nazis had no room for any other message other than that approved by Hitler which highly acclaimed him, his values, attitudes and beliefs.
  • All the propaganda was all about Hitler and his gigantic ego as opposed to it actually being about Germany.
  • Archival Footage of Adolf Hitler celebrating Christmas with his family. Behind the rows of the symbolic cross is the Nazi symbol displayed above it in juxtapositioning.
  • All of Germany worked solely for the honoring of Hitler as he “saved them in their hour of need”. There was massive unemployment and limited national pride in Germany after World War 1 after their significant defeat. Hitler gave everyone the opportunity to be a part of something. Before he was in power in 1933, they were disillusioned and were suffering. Everyone started working together to rebuild the country and its potential for power.
  • Hitler was building his military, navy and soldiers. Because for Hitler it wasn’t just a building of germany, he wanted all of Europe. This is due to his strong belief that Germany was the truly superior nation.
  • Broadcasting TV in 1936, the Germans were experimenting with TV technology. They were developing that technology so that they could transmit German propaganda and control the media and minds of the German citizens.
  • The Germans would have not like Jesse Owens for his victory as a black african-american in the 12th Olympics because the Germans had hosted the event and truly believed that they would have been able to prove that they were the superior race.
  • Germany’s careful selections of invading other countries, masses of young men to join the military to fulfil Hitler’s vision that Europe would be owned and controlled by Germany.
  • Archival Footage of the Germans training for battle and invasion.
  • Juxtapositioning of Hitler’s treatment of German children as opposed to the way in which Jews were treated (living in poverty and deprived of simple things).
  • A contradictory song about the praising of man as images of Hitler and his family mucking around in front of the camera. Hitler’s niece was his lover. “What wouldn’t I do for that man?” is a line from the song which reflects Germany’s great love for Hitler at the time.
  • Millions of soldiers marching with their Swastika flags held high, it seemed to be a giant parade that lasted for hours on end.
  • The English prime minister attempted to reason with Hitler in Germany and encourage him to not invade Poland. However Hitler ignores this reasoning and acts of his own volition and invades Poland.
  • Total destruction of Germany in 1945, completely obliterated. Hitler did some of it to his own people as he felt they didn’t deserve to continue to live as a race because they should’ve won the war however they did not and Hitler was deeply ashamed of his own nation.
  • Confronting images of the concentration camps and all the deaths of Jews (6 million) as they were stacked up half-naked as corpses being moved by a tractor, covering their dead bodies in mud and soil underneath the ground.

Bowling for Columbine – Michael Moore 2002

Documentary – History 
  • April 20th 1999, Narration establishes time and date “In the United States of America
  • Document regarding multiple types of weaponry and gun licensing
  • Let me ask you a question, do you think it’s a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?” – Michael Moore
  • Archival Footage in the opening credits of old-fashioned advertisements promoting gun use for children.
  • Michigan – A gun lover’s paradise 
  • Interview with a Michigan police officer concerning a dog that had been dressed up as a hunter with a rifle on his back. “It was a funny picture, you know, to look at it was kind of neat” – Police officer.
  • Archival Footage of Chris Rock’s stand-up routine which was about gun-use and “bullet control“.
  • Document of a 2002 calendar with pictures of sexualised woman clothed in American flags and in possession of firearms in sexually-provoking positions.
  •  Voice-Over by Michael Moore giving a run-down on the background story of the men who committed the Columbine High School massacre. Gives the audience a brief insight into their lives prior to the drastic event.
  • Document of the ‘Anarchist Codebook’, a book about the making and constructing of all kinds of bombs.
  • Interview with Terry Nichols, “there are wackos out there!
  • Sub-text, ‘Nichols has cocked the gun and put it up to his head‘ as Nichols showed Moore that he does in fact keep a handgun under his bed at all times.
  • Voice-Over – Utah : every resident MUST have a gun, it is against the law for them to not be in possession of at least one firearm.
  • American Cultural Identity is significantly comprised of the valuing of firearms and gun control.
  • Archival Footage of half-naked women firing guns, sexualising the object as if men are attracted to women in the possession of one.
  • Montage of Archival Footage showing graphical violence revolving around guns and murder.
  • This is a great place to raise your children, a really great place with good people” – A housewife in Michigan. This is an example of juxtapositioning as there was a brief sequence of pain and loss, followed by an interview with a reasonably stereotypical housewife.
  • The inclusion of optimistic and trendy music as americans promote that Michigan is “the perfect location“. Moore has utilised the music in such a way that it appears to the audience as contradictory to what they had said during this sequence, thus making it rather humorous.
  • Second Montage of Archival Footage including Sub-text, ‘1954 – U.S. overthrows democratically-elected President Arbenz of Guatemala’, ‘200,000 citizens killed’.
  • This is accompanied with the juxtapositioning song ‘What A Wonderful World’ again for the same purpose, to entirely oppose all that americans had said defending their use of bombs and guns. ‘1980’s : U.S. trains Osama bin Laden and fellow terrorists to kill Soviets’. ‘CIA gave them $3 billion dollars’. An example of bribery in American history.
  • Michael Moore is arguably stating through this documentary, ‘I’ve had enough of these guns, we need to do something about this. We need to wake up and see the damage that is being dealt through the normality of gun possession’.
  • He uses a lot of TV commercial conventions to contradict the American culture.
  • Montage with emotive music and empty hallways of the school, unfolding what has happened in the Columbine High School massacre. Archival Footage of the shooting as all students panic underneath the canteen desks.
  • Actuality of the parents’ and other peoples’ reactions to the massacre, this is still accompanied by emotive music. “And they shot the black kid because he was black” an emotional girl said that survived the incident.
  • Archival Footage of an interview with a student attending Columbine High School, “The principle’s a dick”. Reflects upon Michael Moore’s Voice-over comment that “it sucks being a teenager, and it sucks going to school”.
  • Archival Footage of a person demonstrating how many guns he can keep underneath his free dress uniform. In total there were about 12 different kinds of guns including a full-sized rifle from his pants.
  • Marilyn Manson was believed to be a significant influence on the kids who went on to commit massacres such as that of the Columbine High School incident. “I represent what everyone’s afraid of and because I do and say whatever I want” – Marilyn Manson interview
  • Bowling class is an elective offered at the Columbine High School which evidently offered now educational services other than a teenager interviewed could say, “I learnt how to ball a lot better, that’s for sure!”
  • 11,127 people in America are killed from guns in one year, this is demonstrated through statistics, archival footage and a montage which compares this death toll from guns. Japan : 37, Australia : 65. This unveils how truly different America is in comparison to every other country in the world, and not for better, but for worse.
  • Animation, kid’s style similar to that of the South Park style. Michael Moore’s oversimplifying of historical truths through the use of humour.
  • Archival Footage – Montage, from television reports. Pointing to popular culture to reinforce his point of view that popular culture, television and the government are instilling fear into the American population such as the ‘Killer Bees’ otherwise known as ‘Africanised Bees’. Thus may be seen as encouraging them into purchasing more guns for their own protection.
  • Emotive Issue – Children being manipulated, disenfranchised and victims of violence. Children represent innocence. None of them have a voice at this point in the documentary.
  • Montage of Archival Footage reporting of crimes committed by a ‘black guy’, ‘black man’ in an overly repetitive sequence to show how the American culture pin crimes and assume African Americans as being criminals because of racial bias.
  • European Bee vs the Africanised Bee, stating that the viciousness is far greater in the Africanised Bee and that the European Bee is good and far more normal and acceptable by society.
  • “Maybe because we demonise black and hispanic people in the media” – Michael Moore
  • Michael Moore is seeking out the entertainment and media industry, talking to the producers of the hit series ‘Cops’ which just shows the chasing down of criminals.
  • Montage of Interviews with different Canadians concerning their feelings towards Americans and the American lifestyle.
  • Interview with divergent people at a restaurant, and a woman stated that she “never” locks her doors at night and that she “isn’t afraid of anything”. The woman also stated that everybody (Americans) reacts over there “just like that! It’s just different over here.”
  • Montage of Michael Moore going around a neighbourhood in Canada, testing if they all generally keep the doors of their house unlocked, and a lot of the houses shown were not locked.
  • Archival Footage with Subtext, revealing the dialogue of a teacher calling 991 panicking over a shot child. The little girl that was killed by a little boy (only a 1st grader) who brought a gun from his uncle’s house, whilst his mother was being evicted.
  • Voice-over, “80% of students living officially under the poverty line”.
  • After September 11, gun sales rose 70%, as did ammunition sales rise by approximately 140%.
  • Subtext stating that two students from the Columbine High School massacre; that are now disabled, had to wait “an hour later” before attended to by the woman they requested to see.
  • Voice-over of Moore, “I walked back into the real world, in America where people are living and breathing in fear”. Shown with Archival Footage of Americans hurriedly rushing through the streets.