What Can A Cigarette Hide? Essay

780 words - 3 pages

Lively tourists have invaded the coast of Nassau in a beautiful summer day. As the sea caresses the shore it fills the air with the loving sound of its waves thus creating a perfect romantic gateway. While people are enjoying the lovely weather in the seaside, a life changing moment is taking place in one of the tables in a waterfront restaurant in Nassau. The simple gesture of lighting a cigarette marks the beginning of a new life for Charlotte Vale.
In the presented still image, we can see a fashionable young lady. It is a close up of Charlotte’s hidden face, which is positioned in the center of the frame and takes most of the space. Everything behind her is out of focus. We can only see a hand, coming from the left of the frame, offering to lighten Charlotte’s cigarette. It is Jerry’s hand, the person with which Charlotte shared the carriage during the seaside tour and whom she will fall in love with. Despite the clear and strong light, Charlotte’s face is in the shade of her hat, and she is looking down, towards the flame of the lighter. This detail is very important because even though Charlotte has completed her treatment, she is not fully ready for the outside world. She still hides behind her hat and her fine veil, and we can’t see her eyes, the window to her soul.
But, what draws our attention in this shot is the action of sharing and lighting the cigarette. The fire coming from the lighter symbolizes a moment of intimacy between a woman and a man; it is a moment of giving and receiving something from each other. Even though a casual encounter between two unknown people, this moment is crucial to the way the story of the film develops. After many years, Charlotte is in the company of a man who has some interest in her, and they are sharing a cigarette. But this is not the first time we see the motif of cigarettes. We encounter it during the first introduction of our main character, when Charlotte was represented as a spinster fat ugly aunt, whose true life was confined to the four walls of her room where her secrets where meticulously covered. At the beginning of the movie, we see Charlotte’s hands hiding her cigarette’s ashes when her mother calls upon her. The cigarettes were something that...

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