American Beauty Semiotics Audio Visual Essay

by Christopher Pearson

Christopher Pearson discusses semiotics—the study of signs, symbols, and signification—in relation to Sam Mendez’s 1999 film American Beauty, which chronicles a suburban husband/father’s mid-life crisis. Paying particular attention to color, the recurring symbol of the rose, and editing style, Pearson illustrates how signs and symbols work to create multiple layers of meaning in the film.




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