Throughout the film Snow Falling on Cedars’ the director Scott Hicks has used symbolism to convey a number of his ideas. He used the fog and snow to symbolise hidden secrets, the sea to represent life and death, and he used the Cedars to symbolise a place of secrecy and protection.
By using these three symbols, Scott Hick’s ideas could be conveyed without anything being said at all. Fog and snow are used in the film to symbolise hidden secrets and to convey the idea that nothing can stay hidden forever. The fog is first seen in the opening scenes when Carl Heine Junior died and throughout the film, the fog is seen covering the seas secrets. Like the fog, the snow also covers secrets but the snow covers the secrets on the land. It covers up Ishmael and Hatsue’s relationship, and it covers up the racism on the island. Both the fog and the snow look cold and lonely with no sign of life, but in reality, they act as a security blanket, covering up the islands secrets and keeping them safe.
Fog and snow convey the idea that everything is being covered from someone or something and that it can’t stay protected forever. Fog and snow will slowly drift away and as this happens the secrets will be revealed because the snow won’t last forever. Throughout the movie Snow Falling on Cedars, the sea represented life and death on many occasions and Scott Hicks was trying to convey the idea that one mans blessings can also be his downfall. The sea was a way of life for the fishermen, but it also proved to be the downfall to one of their own.
During the movie, the sea was used to represent life and death by the fish washing up on the shore. As the fish were swept onto the land they slowly suffocated and died, and this is what happened to Carl Heine Junior when he got caught in his fishing net. The seawater was also very black, making it unable to see what was going on under the surface, leaving a sense of mystery. The sea can be a way of life for some, it can also be tormenting memories for others, and Scott Hicks was able to use this idea to show the sea as a means of life and death. The cedar trees throughout the movie symbolised protection and Scott Hicks has used this to convey the idea that skin colour, size and race don’t make a difference to who we are on the inside.
The cedars were used to exemplify this by protecting Ishmael and Hatsue throughout the film. The cedar trees protected them from the outside world and when they were amongst the trees nothing else in the World mattered to them. Neither of them were bothered by the fact that they weren’t meant to be together because the Cedar trees weren’t bothered and this was their place of refuge. The cedar trees were oblivious to the racial differences between the two of them and because of this protected them from the outside world, which did notice that they were different. The cedar trees were tall, strong, and wise throughout the film were able to look beyond Ishmael and Hatsue’s race and look to their hearts to find true love.
Scott Hicks created a place of refuge in the Cedar trees and tried to convey the idea that some things only go skin deep. During the film Snow Falling on Cedars Scott Hicks was able to use symbolism largely to convey many of his ideas. He used the fog and snow to send the message that nothing can stay hidden forever because the fog and snow will slowly melt away and reveal the truth. The sea represented life and death and Scott Hicks was trying to convey the idea that many things can be a blessing for some and the downfall of others, and lastly he used the cedar trees to convey the idea that some thing sonly go skin deep. Overall Scott Hicks has used symbolism at its greatest and was able to convey many of his ideas without any extra dialogue.