Many years ago, whilst channel surfing, I saw the middle third of a movie entitled Painful Secrets, also known as Secret Cutting. Unfortunately, I didn't know the title, and so it took until, well, today, to find a copy of it anywhere. But what I really remember about the movie is something I learned while trying to find the title (harder than it sounds when the movie has three titles).
What I really remember is that while searching about the movie on the Internet, I found a site that had some analysis of the movie. One thing it noted was a scene in which the main character shatters her hand mirror because she doesn't have any razors to cut with. There's a short shot of her imagine reflected in the broken mirror. It was meant to symbolize the brokenness of her life and mind.
Since I read that, this has become one of my symbols. I find the image so provocative. I love the way the image looks split up, often with parts appearing more than once, everything distorted, sense-making and nonsensical all at the same time. And, quite frankly, I love the kinds of characters you can apply that symbol to. Some of the most interesting characters are shattered and broken, often in more ways than one.
I've seen it in other places than Secret Cutting. Another good movie with it would be Sweeny Todd. In the song "Epiphany," there's a shot with Johnny Depp looking in a broken mirror ( about 1:07 seconds into the song). If there's any character with a fractured mental state, it's Benjamin Barker/ Sweeny Todd.
Do you have a symbol that you particularly love?