Visual Symbolism In Wilder's Sunset Boulevard

1001 Words5 Pages
Films are immortal the people who make them however are not. As time passes fads, trends and even people fall out of fashion. The films Sunset Boulevard and Hugo both use visual symbolism to demonstrate the characters having become trapped in the past. In Sunset Boulevard this can be observed through the images of the bars on the doors and windows, the microphone at the film set and the spiraled staircase in Norma’s home while Hugo uses the train station, the motif of clockwork and the automaton to illustrate its point. Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard tells the twisted tale of an aged silent film starlet unable to come to terms with the loss of her fame. It is clear from the start of the film that the actress, Norma Desmond, is not quite in…show more content…
A series of events leads him to cross paths with the famed but forgotten filmmaker George Melies. A number of characters in this film are trapped by their pasts including the characters of Hugo and Melies. Much like Sunset Boulevard the imagery of the main setting is representative of the characters being left behind as the world moves forward without them. The majority of the film takes place within a train station which serves as both a home to Hugo and contains the toyshop Melies owns. Day after day the film’s protagonists remain within the walls of the train station, a place that is by definition meant to transport people. Hugo, Melies and even the station officer are stuck in the same place without any intended destination while the rest of the world moves forward on the trains. The image of clockwork is another motif throughout the film that is representative of the characters mental state. The clocks are symbolic of the characters being held in the past. Hugo remains anchored to a time where his father was alive while Melies lost his purpose when his studio and films were destroyed. There are many shots where we see Hugo peering through the face of a clock. In this sense he is physically being trapped and isolated by time, a clear visual symbol for the struggle he is facing in his life. Much like the image of the

More about Visual Symbolism In Wilder's Sunset Boulevard

Open Document