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Part 1: Mise -en-Scene. Film Analysis. What is Mise -en-Scene?. A film’s sets and settings, costumes, make-up and other elements depicted by its images are its mise -en-scene . It is important to take note of how settings create meaningful environments for film

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what is mise en scene
What is Mise-en-Scene?

A film’s sets and settings, costumes, make-up and other elements depicted by its images are its mise-en-scene. It is important to take note of

  • how settings create meaningful environments for film
  • how the cultural and historical backgrounds of the mise-en-scene remain alive today
  • how sets and props relate to the film’s story
  • how actors and performance styles function in mise-en-scene
  • how lighting is used to evoke certain meanings
  • how costumes contribute to our understanding of a character
settings and sets
Settings and Sets
  • Setting= real or fictional place where the action and events of a film occur. Sets=the constructed setting.
  • Scenic realism enables the viewer to recognize sets and settings as accurate evocations of actual places. Scenic realism relies on physical, cultural and historical accuracy of backgrounds, objects and other figures.
settings and sets1
Settings and Sets
  • In addition to scenic realism, the mise-en-scene of a film also creates scenic atmosphere and connotations- those feelings or meanings associated with particular sets or settings in a film.
viewing cues for settings and sets
Viewing Cues for Settings and Sets
  • Which features of the setting seem most important in the film?
  • Examine the interaction of two important sets or settings in the film. What is their relationship?
  • Consider the scenic connotations created by one of the most important sets or settings. Are there atmospheric or other suggestions attached to these sets that help you understand the scene in important ways?
  • How do the sets/settings add to or detract from the realism of the film? What are the most conspicuous signs of that realism? Or if the sets/settings seem fake, what most signals that artificiality? How does the realism of the mise-en-scene play a part in your understanding of the film?
  • Props are objects that function as parts of the sets or as tools used by the actors. Props acquire special significance when they are used to express a characters’ thoughts and feelings, their powers and abilities in the world, or even the primary themes of the film.
types of props
Types of Props
  • Functional Distinction: Instrumental props are objects displayed and used according to their common function. Metaphorical props are those same objects reinvented or employed for an unexpected, even magical purpose.
  • Cultural Props such as a type of car or a piece of furniture, carry meanings associated with their place in a particular society.
  • Contextualized props acquire a meaning through their changing place in a narrative.
staging performance and blocking
Staging: Performance and Blocking
  • At the center of most mise-en-scenes is the actor who embodies and performs a film character through gestures and movements.
  • Performance refers to the actor’s use of language, physical expression, and gesture
  • In performance we can distinguish two primary elements: voice and bodily movement.
staging performance and blocking1
Staging: Performance and Blocking
  • Different acting styles define performances.
  • In stylized acting, an actor employs emphatic and highly stylized gestures or speaks in pronounced tones with elevated diction.

monty python

  • Naturalistic acting asks an actor to fully and naturally embody the role that he or she is playing in order to communicate that character’s essential self. streetcar
staging performance and blocking2
Staging: Performance and Blocking
  • As part of the usual distribution of actors through mise-en-scene, leading actors play the central characters.
  • Recognizable actors associated with particular character types or minor parts are sometimes referred to as character actors. They usually appear as secondary characters playing sinister or humorous roles.
  • Supporting actors play secondary characters in a film, serving as foils or companions to the central characters. Supporting and character actors add to the complexity of how we become involved in the action or pinpoint a movie’s themes.
staging performance and blocking3
Staging: Performance and Blocking
  • Blocking refers to the arrangement and movement of actors in relation to each other within the single physical space of a mise-en-scene.
  • Social blocking describes the arrangement of characters to accentuate the relations between them.
  • Graphic blocking arranges characters or groups according to visual patterns to portray spatial harmony, tension or some other visual atmosphere.
staging performance and blocking4
Staging: Performance and Blocking

Social Blocking

Graphic Blocking

costumes and make up
Costumes and Make-Up
  • Costumes are the clothing and related accessories that a character wears or that define the character.
  • How actors are costumed and made-up play a central part in a film as well describing tensions and changes in the character and the story.
costumes and make up1
Costumes and Make-up
  • When costumes and make-up support scenic realism, they reproduce, as accurately as possible, the clothing and facial features of the people living in a specific time and place.
  • When costumes and make-up function as character highlights, they draw out or point to important parts of a character’s personality.
  • When costumes and make-up act as narrative markers, their change or lack of change becomes a crucial way to understand and follow a character and the development of the story.
  • Mise-en-scene lighting refers specifically to light sources—both natural and electrical lamps—located within the scene itself.
  • How a character moves through light or how the lighting on the character changes within a single mise-en-scene can signal important information about the character and the story.
  • Natural lighting usually assumes an incidental role in a scene; it derives from a natural source such as daylight or lamps in a room.
  • Set lighting distributes an evenly diffused illumination through a scene as a kind of lighting base.
  • Directional lighting is more dramatically apparent; it may create the impression of natural light but actually directs light in ways that define and shape the object or person being illuminated.
  • Key lighting is the main source of lighting from a lamp; it may be bright (high) with few contrasts or shadowy with sharp contrasts between light and dark (low)
  • Fill lighting can be used to balance the key lighting or to emphasize other spaces and objects in the scene.
  • Highlighting describes the use of the different lighting sources to emphasize certain characters or objects or to charge them with special significance.
  • Backlighting(edgelighting) is a highlighting technique

that illuminates the person or object from behind; it tends to

silhouette the subject.

  • Three-point lighting combines key lighting, fill lighting and backlighting to blend naturally the distribution of light in a scene.
  • Frontal lighting, sidelighting, underlighting, and top lighting are used to illuminate the subject from different directions in order to draw out features or create specific atmospheres around a subject.
viewing cues for elements of mise en scene
Viewing Cues for Elements of Mise-en-Scene
  • Turn the sound off and analyze a single scene in the film. What is communicated just through the elements of mise-en-scene?
  • Identify the single most important prop in the film.
  • Distinguish two props: one instrumental and the other metaphorical. Describe how the props reflect certain themes in the film.
  • Focus on a central character/actor. How would you describe his or her acting style in the film? Does the style seem compatible with the story?
  • Are there specific scenes where blocking is important? How?
  • How do costuming and make-up play a role in this film?
  • Where in the film does lighting dramatically add to a scene?
alfred hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
  • Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom, Hitchcock moved toHollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while remaining a British subject.
  • Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognizable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His storiesfrequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside "icy blonde" female characters. Many of Hitchcock's films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or "MacGuffins" meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters..