In Mo Better Blues, Denzel Washington plays Bleek, an amazing trumpet player who is an asshole. His existence and popularity depends on his relationship to women, but also his lips. In class, we talked a little about the ending scene where we see Bleek as a broken man and unable to play his trumpet again. He then turns to Indigo to fix him. During their encounter, she touches his broken lips, the one thing that has helped him to make his living and engage in relationship with women.
This is not the first time Bleek’s lips are touched during the film. Often when Bleek is alone, he checks to make sure is lips are moisturized and ready to perform. He goes through specific motions to make sure he is able to blow into his horn. When Clark bites his lip, he pushes her aside to clean his wound. The audience watches Bleek care for his lips for several minutes, yelling at Clark, these are his lips and money, rather than comfort Clark who makes an honest mistake. Bleek constantly touches his lips, not only to seduce Clark or Indigo, but to also for his pride attractiveness. Each time this occurs, Lee frames the scene of Bleek’s face to show how obsessed he is with himself, forgetting what happens around him. The audience gets inside of Bleek’s head and experiences his selfishness.
Thus, when he turns to Indigo as a broken man with his stitched up lip, loss pride from losing a fight, and embarrassing himself at the Dizzy club, we again zoom back into Bleek’s lips. The audience sees the permanent scar, the scar Bleek wants Indigo to repair. The scar becomes a stigma the represents Bleek’s failure as a performer and inability to think beyond himself.