The Grand Budapest Hotel Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
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Jopling is Dmitri's hitman. We watch as he kills anyone in his path. During the film we see shots of his desk while he speaks with Dmitri. And on his desk are files, with a picture of a person he and Dmitri are speaking about. The pictures represent his next victim and most certainly death as he always follows through.
Gustave and Zero are at Madame D.'s mansion when they walk into the room where her will is being read to family members. When they enter we see stacks of rifles, animal skins on the ground and heads all over the walls. The symbol is that they have entered a dangerous place among greedy people who are willing to kill for what they want. And in this case Gustave becomes the hunted.
While in prison, Gustave has Zero send him a MENDL's pastry which he divides with a "throat-cutter" for he and three other men to share. The pastry is a symbol of the friendships that Gustave has formed on the inside and the unity he has with them. This ultimately leads to them trusting him to help them escape from the prison.
After Zero meets and falls in love with Agatha, Gustave wants to meet her and interview her. During his conversation with the young lady, Gustave gives her white tulips as a gift. For Zero they are a symbol of him flirting with his love, and he won't stand for it. Every opportunity he gets to tell Gustave to stop flirting he takes it to ensure his friend knows there are boundaries with Agatha that he is not allowed to cross.
Jopling has come to the prison after Gustave escapes in order to see if it was in fact Gustave that flead and to find and kill him. He's asked to leave as he is not a member of the police force. On his way out he find the MENDL's pastry bod and takes a taste of what is left behind on the bottom portion of the box. The taste is distinct and he knows it is MENDL's. The symbol is that only Gustave would order this sweet treat in prison, and that he has the clue to know he's on to his man.
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