Classical realist texts american films between 1916 and 1960
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Classical Realist Texts: American Films between 1916 and 1960. Mise-en-sc è ne. Table of Contents. 1. Visualizing methods in classical American films 2. Mise-en-scéne in classical American films. Visualizing Methods in Classical American films.

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Classical Realist Texts: American Films between 1916 and 1960

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Classical Realist Texts: American Films between 1916 and 1960

Mise-en-scène


Table of Contents

1. Visualizing methods in classical American films

2. Mise-en-scéne in classical American films


Visualizing Methods in Classical American films

(Mise-en-scène = ‘put it in the scene’; what to shoot, how to shoot. It includes the directing of performance, the placement of cameras, camera movement, lighting, the choice of lenses, décore, costume, location hunting, etc.)


Visualizing Methods in Classical American films

(Montage = editing, how to present shots. It

includes cutting, mixing sound effect and

music, and dubbing)


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Classical Hollywood films endevoured to make the viewer not aware that they were watching a film. They tried to achieve this goal through telling a plausible narrative.

  • In making narrative the dominant force in a film, the classical Hollywood cinema chose to subordinate mise-en-scène to narrative.

  • It lets mise-en-scène serve for the 'invisible’, plausible and realistic narrative.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • They achieve reality and truth effects by concealing filming techniques through sophisticated filming teachniques MISE-EN-SCENEand MONTAGE

  • Unartificial → natural → real

  • Use of arts → make a film look artless → natural → real


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Film arts which are employed to make a film artless

  • No unusual angles, eye-level placing of camera, follow-focus (follow shot), no strong contrast, choice of normal size lens (35 to 50 mm), balanced composition, verisimilitudinous camera movement, etc.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • ANGLES OF FRAMING

  • High angle shot

  • Low angle shot

  • Camera angle can suggest the vulnerability or power of a character.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Straight-on angle

  • Following the point of view of a character - the most natural ways of deciding angles

  • Orson Wells, Citizen Kane (1941)


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Expressive angles

  • Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange (1971)

  • Extreme low-angle shots


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • LEVEL OF CAMERA

  • Low-level and high-level placing of the camera

  • Following the eye level of a character - the most natural ways of deciding levels


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • However, eye-level positioning of camera becomes expressive and formalistic, when it is set at an extreme level.

  • Expressive level

  • Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996)


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • COMPOSITION

  • The important figure should be place in the slightly off-centre of the frame


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Slightly off-centre composition: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

DEPTH OF FIELD: FOCUS

  • SELECTIVE FOCUS or SHALLOW FOCUS = only one plane is in sharp focus

  • To direct the viewer’s attention to that plane.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • RACK FOCUS

  • Changing of focus within a shot in such a way that one plane of the frame goes out of focus and instead another plane comes into sharp focus.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • FOLLOW FOCUS

  • Keeping a moving object or character in focus

  • DEEP FOCUS

  • Keeping elements at different depths of the image in focus

    More natural ways of focusing


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Watch the three clips from three different films and identify the types of focus used in them.

    1. Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather

    2. Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Tango in Paris

    3. Orson Wells’ Citizen Kane


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Camera movement

  • The camera moves following the movement of a character the most natural way of moving the camera

  • Martin Scorsese, The Age of Innocence

  • Is the camera movement in the opening scene realistic or formalistic?


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • LIGHTING

  • High-key lighting: all areas of the image are equally lighted.

  • Low-key lighting: create strong contrast between light and shadow


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Mise-en-scene ought to be motivated as narrative does. The chain of cause and effect dictates mise-en-scène (what and how to shoot).

  • e.g. When a character is a hero, he may be placed in the centre of the frame. When he walks into a room, the camera also moves with him. When he is walking in the darkness, no strong light is cast on his face.


Mise-en-scéne in Classical American Films

  • Mise-en-scène should be motivated without letting itself stand out.

  • e.g. A protagonist must be placed in the centre of the frame, but not in the dead centre. When he walks into a room, the camera also moves with him rather than it uses rack focus. When he is walking in the darkness, not too much contrast between light and shade.


Mise-en-scéne in classical American films

  • F.W. Murnau, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

  • Travelling shot from a tram

  • Motivated: when the characters and the vehicle on which they are on move, the camera moves.


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