Short Essay 01: Analysis of Film mise en scene(approx. 1000 words excludingany footnotes & bibliography) Analyze one or more aspects of how mise en sceneis used in onefilm. Examine how the film’s setting, costumes, makeup, lighting, and/or staging of the actors, contributes to your understanding of its story, characters, and/or themes. For example, some films may confine themselves to just one or two main locations (especially if adapted from a stage play) and the settings may be almost as important as the characters in telling the story or conveying themes and mood. Certain colors, props, or portions of costumes may be used in the narrative as significant recurring elements (motifs), possibly with symbolic content. A comedy may exploit certain props or settings for humor, as well as staging of actors and actors’ gestures (rather than merely using dialogue or situations to get laughs). Some prop (e.g., a matchbook, an earring, a bicycle, a sled, a doll) may seem relatively insignificant when first seen but might become a
9critical narrative device later in the plot and/or be symbolic in some way that becomes more obvious by the end of the film. Lighting style may be consistent throughout or may change dramatically to serve a specific purpose for certain scenes. Actors’ gestures (or costumes or makeup) may be telling you more about their characters than the dialogue or the events of the plot. The mise en scenemay be usedin predictable, stereotyped ways to provide story information, or it may be intentionally used in unexpected or counter-intuitive ways.Changes in the mise en scenethrough the course of the plot may be meaningful for interpreting how characters’ relationships, situations, or personalities change, as well as reflecting narrative themes. Parts of the mise en scene may establish the film as part of a familiar genrewith recurring iconographythat you can identify. Whatever elements of mise en sceneyou discuss, be as specific as you can in showing how those elements function in the particular film you choose to discuss (using examples from the film). You will want to try to explain whyparticular elements are used in a particular way. How do they affect yourinterpretation of its meaning, of the film’s purpose, of its success at achieving its goals? It can help to watch the movie additional times. Do NOT write a synopsisand do NOT simply describe scenes from the film. Do NOT analyze the narrative structure, cinematography, editing, or sound, for this paper. Do NOT describe how framing of the image is significant (framing is a function of how cinematographyshowsyou the mise en scene that’s already there). Instead, describe how the scenes and story materialare clarified and intensified by the film’s mise en scene, perhaps explaining the function(s) that certain individual elements serve in the overall film (e.g., props, costumes, and makeup associated with characterizations, setting, props, and lighting indicating mood or foreshadowing plot developments, etc.). Perhaps changes in setting, colors, and/or lighting throughout the film reflect positive or negative character growth or development (or lack of it). Perhaps the presence or absence of certain props is significant at times (do certain characters always have an alcoholic beverage handy, a cigarette, a gun, a cellphone, etc.?). In other films, the entire style of the mise en scenechanges substantially one or more times during the plot (especially duringflashbacks, dream scenes, fantasies, etc.), and if so, what effect does this have on your understanding of the story at those points? Some films may lend themselves to analyzing their overall art direction (the “look” of sets, costumes, and makeup) as a primary driving force (or at least thematic symbol) in the story, while with others it may be more useful to analyze the positioning of actors and props within the setting (e.g., often seen in doorways, by windows or mirrors, near or away from walls, etc.), and with others the uses of lighting and shadow. Throughout your discussion USE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES that illustrate your statements!! For this assignment you maydevelop a film we have watched in class or you may choose one from the list below.General Terms•Shot:continuous, unedited piece of film of any length
10•Scene: a series of shots that together form a complete episode or unit of the narrative•Storyboard: Drawn up when designing a production. Plans AV text and shows how each shotrelates to sound track. (Think comic strip with directions -like a rough draft or outline for a film.)•Montage: The editing together of a large number of shots with no intention of creating a continuous reality. A montage is often used to compress time, and montage shots are linked through a unified sound -either a voiceover or a piece of music.•Parallel action: narrative strategy that crosscuts between two or more separate actions to create the illusion that they are occurring simultaneouslyShots•Long Shot: Overall view from a distance of whole scene often used as an establishing shot-to set scene. Person -will show whole body. •Medium or Mid Shot: Middle distance shot -can give background information while still focusing on subject. Person -usually shows waist to head. •Close Up: Focuses on detail / expression / reaction. Person -shows either head or head and shoulders.•Tracking shot:single continuous shot made with a camera moving along the ground•Reverse shot:shot taken at a 180 degree angle from the preceding shot (reverse-shot editing is commonly used during dialogue, angle is often 120 to 160 degrees) •Subjective Shot (P.O.V. Shot): Framed from a particular character’s point of view. Audience sees what character sees.Camera Movement•Pan: Camera moves from side to side from a stationary position •Tilt: Movement up or down from a stationary position •Tracking: The camera moves to follow a moving object or personCamera Angles•Low Angle Camera: shoots up at subject. Used to increase size, power, status of subject •High Angle Camera: shoots down at subject. Used to increase vulnerability, powerlessness, decrease sizeEditing (the way shots are put together)•Cut: The ending of a shot. If the cut seems inconsistent with the next shot, it is called a jump cut. •Fade in or out: The image appears or disappears gradually. Often used as a division between scenes. •Dissolve: One image fades in while another fades outso that for a few seconds, the two are superimposed.
11SoundSoundtrack: Consists of dialogue, sound effects and music. Should reveal something about the scene that visual images don’t.•Score:musical soundtrack•Sound effects:all sounds that are neither dialogue nor music•Voice-over: spoken words laid over the other tracks in sound mix to comment upon the narrative or to narrate