Friend's Critical Response

How is the concept of Belonging apparent in Friends?
The 1971 film Friends, directed by Lewis Gilbert, exemplifies the concept of belonging and alienation through the exploration of the journey of the two protagonists; Michelle and Paul. The two young, neglected, alienated teenagers cross paths whilst in Paris, and from here onwards Gilbert’s portrayal of the concept of belonging is apparent.
Through the audience’s first introduction to Michelle, she is depicted as being alienated from society. The long shot of her walking alone in the graveyard to visit her Father’s grave conveys to the audience the death of her Father had a significant impact upon her life, and we can conclude that she once felt a sense of belonging with him. This idea of alienation is further portrayed in the long shot of the Paris train station, 1/3 of the camera focused on Michelle whilst the remaining focuses on the dark, empty space of a train station. The arch surrounding her represents her loneliness. The train station itself is symbolic of both belonging and alienation, and symbolises new journeys. However we become aware of Michelle’s alienation once more as she arrives at her Cousin Annie’s house. Through the close-up shot of Annie’s face, the audience is aware Michelle does not belong here either, as Annie thought she “wouldn’t be here until tomorrow”. Annie kisses her twice in greeting; although according to French custom relatives are kissed three times. Michelle’s isolation is further conveyed through Gilbert’s juxtaposition of Annie’s and her own clothing; that of the bright clothing of Annie and the dull, pale clothes of Michelle. Through the audience’s first introduction to Michelle, it can be concluded that she is isolated from society.
Paul, a young neglected English boy, is depicted as bold and outgoing in the long shot of him walking around the streets at night time. Gilbert uses this shot to also convey to the audience his sense of alienation from his family – he feels...