The Vanity Of Celebrity Fame: "Sunset Boulevard" And Celebrity Reality Shows

3035 words - 12 pages

A celebrity is not a person known for his/her talent or achievement, but an individual recognized for his/her reputation created by the media. The phase of stardom is slippery, and media may choose to represent celebrities varying from exaggerated admiration to mockery. The three texts chosen, movie "Sunset Boulevard", feature article "Over the Hilton" and television show "Celebrity Uncensored Six" are texts presenting different perception of celebrities than their usual images - either corrupted by the encircling media, overloads oneself with self-indulgence, or just mocks celebrity in a broad spectrum. Such media items empower and impresses the audience by perceiving celebrities as people who pay the price of privacy to gain well knowness, signifying the vanity of stardom from the commonly accepted images.

Sunset Boulevard is macabre movie designed for mature audiences who would be able to acknowledge the emptiness of a fallen celebrity, the vanity of stardom and insights of the movie industry. It features the transitory nature of fame, a pessimistic perception of Hollywood and the corruption of a celebrity with the example of a once legendary actress - Norma Desmond. Through the movie, audiences identifies with an alienated celebrity.

The female fatale Norma Desmond, starred by Gloria Swanson, is a distorted version of the actress herself - who had been largely absent for almost 16 years when she performed in Sunset Boulevard. Norma Desmond is the typical example of a celebrity living in the netherworld between the passed stardom and reality - "I am big, it is the pictures that got small." In the entire Sunset Boulevard, Norma is always performing as if constantly watched by fictional audiences. Her dramatic movements, superficial appearances and script-alike dialogues reveal this. This is an illustration the self-possessiveness of celebrities as a result of the illusions of fame. Besides being at the brink of madness caused by her self-denial of the passing of her fame, Norma Desmond had also become rather sexual-transgressive. Some male traits shown in Norma consist of her dominance - she demands over Max, financial independence - owns factories which constantly makes profits and her assertive nature - she fearlessly confronts her passion for Joe. The way Norma is ridiculously insane to a degree of dark humour brings sympathy, entertainment and a corrupted depiction of celebrity to audiences.

Starred by William Holden, the male protagonist, given one of the most mundane names, Joe Gillis, is a laconic character who interacts with Norma in a reciprocally dependent relationship. Without Gillis, Norma feels lifeless, loveless and powerless, she depends on him emotionally, and conversely, without Norma, Gillis is homeless, finance-less and jobless, he depends on her materialistically. Also, identical to Norma, Gillis is sexually transgressive as well. He possesses many feminine identities such as his betrayal of integrity - Joe and...

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