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Symbolism In The Film Meshes Of The Afternoon

The film is very intense and dreamlike. We see multiple women, that are all the same woman but in different ways. They go through a set of events that slowly but surely get more and more bizarre. The movie ends with a shattered mirror, a man and the death of the main character, the woman. The movie is covered in symbols, re-appearing again and again. Here I want to explore the meaning of the symbols in the film and the meaning behind them.

It all starts with a white flower being placed on the ground by a mysterious hand appearing from the sky. The flower is picked up from the ground by a woman in the beginning of the film but is also laid on a pillow by a man in the end of the film. Flowers are used in art to represent reproduction and romance but are also connected to being fragile. The color white however is used to show purity and innocence. I believe Maya chooses a white flower to show how women are „supposed“ to be: beautiful beings that bare children and in constand need of being saved and being taken care of. I feel like when the woman, the protagonist of the story, picked up the flower she was picking up on her own vulnerability as a woman in a world that belongs to men.

Throuh out the movie we see a key. In the beginning the protagonist uses it to open the front door but in the end of it the key reappears on the dining table when each woman takes a key for herself. A key is a symbol of freedom, the freedom of coming and going as you please, the freedom of opening doors and rooms that nobody else than the keyholder has access to. The figure is seen repeatetly and is one of the main-characters in the film. It is dressed in all black and the woman always starts following it trying to catch it but never does. The antagonist sees it through the window and always dissapearing around the corner but when she stops following it, it appears right in front of her in the bedroom. The figure reminds me of the Grim reaper, and I think it was deliberate to represent change, killing the old habit. The woman chasing the figure can show that she is chasing the change of her own life, trying to change the views of society and the views of people around her.

The knife is a significant sign. At first it is sticing out of bread on the dining room table. Then it starts to show up at multiple places, including the bed and in the main characters hands. A knife is usually a sign of sacrifice and liberation. She uses the knife to kill herself, which could be that she is killing her old self and being reborn.

Mirrors start reaccuring in the end of the film, when the creature reveals itself we can see that instead of a face there is a big mirror, and on the table above the bed is a small mirror. The face if the creature (that I think represent change) being a mirror could mean that the main character was the change or had to change herself, that society is not going to change by itself. When the mirror above the bed is shown, the man in the film turns it around, meaning that he is opposed to the change that is happening. I believe Maya put all the symbols in the film deliberately, to make people read into them and make up their own analysis of her work.

As Maya wrote herself: “This film is concerned, with the interior experiences of an individual. It does not record an event which could be witnessed by other persons”. I felt it was easy to relate to the film. I have read into the main symbols that appear in the film and I believe the different women could represent different selves, different feelings or different states of mind. I wish I could go deeper into them, and I will later on.

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