There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity
The best quote in the film, also a thematic sentence, conveys the importance of our inner value in creating beauty and order out of the chaos of human life. Amazingly, so heavy a message can be delivered through such a lighthearted tone of the film. To me, no better words can describe the film than “entertainingly significant.” It keeps me in high spirits for the rest part of the day after watching it. In memory of this delightful experience so that it will leave some traces in my life, I write down what it is all about. Basically, it is an appealing artwork featuring a balanced structure, picturesque scenes, and thrilling suspense. But most significantly, it touches the big philosophical question---the meaning of life.
So, we are told by the Author that his tale is not a dream out of the air but a real incident bestowed on him by destiny--- a gesture to inform that what he is going to tell is of significance. This Author, like numerous others belonging to the group of intelligentsia, suffers from neurasthenia. That a solitary and reserved author dwells in the enchanting old ruin of the once prosperous hotel, is a perfect match!
Part 1. M. Gustave
The year is 1932. We see how M. Gustave recites poetry at each opportune moment: “There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity,” and how suavely he tackles his guests, who are unanimously rich, old, insecure, vain, superficial, blonde and needy. Despite an alleged gay, he claims to have the “virility” to go to bed with all his friends. Gustave and his lobby boy, Zero Moustafa, form a perfect duet, one the counselor and guardian with the other the pupil. Zero, of course, is a symbol of a struggling immigrant starting from zero to peak.
Part 2. Madame C.V.D.U.T
The 84-year-old lady, according to Gustave, is a dynamite in the sack. The rich widow left him a large fortune, which ironically brings him ill fortune. As Zero remarks, “When the destiny of a great fortune is at stake, man’s greed spreads like a poison in the bloodstream.”
Part 3. Check-Point 19
The escape from the prison reminds me of The Shawshank Redemption , but with a twist. This time, the solemn hero becomes a team; the drill is not hidden in the Bible but in the cakes! What a smart way to hide a weapon! Pastry is the savior this time, not the Bible.
Part 4. The Society of the Crossed Keys
See how the secret alliance of hotels manifests brotherhood! See how Gustave, a man of aestheticism, recites a farewell poem to himself when his life is threatened by the killer: “If this do be the end, farewell! Cried the wounded piper-boy, whilst the muskets cracked and the yeomen roared ‘Hurrah!’ And the ramparts fell.” See how Gustave, regardless of his immediate arrest by the police, insists on a moment of silence to memorize a devoted servant killed violently during the conduct of his duties
Part 5. The Second Copy of the Second Will
The copy of the widow’s second will is the deux-ex-machina in Greek drama, which sets all things right. Gustave inherits the widower’s legacy and becomes rich. But he doesn’t succeed in growing old, as Zero comments; he grows more like his insecure and vain guests. Gustave dies a heroic death, shot when defending his Zero. The guardian and pupil are adorable in the eyes of the pure and brave lady Agatha, Zero’s wife: “Whence came these two radiant, celestial brothers, united, for an instant, as they crossed the stratosphere of our starry window. One from the east, one from the west.”
Gustave is the aesthetic man who sustains the illusion of his ideal world with a marvelous grace. Zero is the faithful man who keeps the memory of his wife and their happy days by keeping the costly, unprofitable and doomed hotel. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the institution that conveys the meaning of life: while darkness reigns with every effort doomed to decay, the glimmer of humanity can be sustained through beauty and sublimity, however illusionary it is!