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Mise-en-scène (pronounced meez-ahn-sen) Everything that creates the visual world of the movie and its overall atmosphere.

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Presentation on theme: "Mise-en-scène (pronounced meez-ahn-sen) Everything that creates the visual world of the movie and its overall atmosphere."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mise-en-scène (pronounced meez-ahn-sen) Everything that creates the visual world of the movie and its overall atmosphere

2 Some Key Film Terms A. Mise-en-scène -what is filmed; everything in front of the cameras. B. Cinematography--how something is filmed (photographic techniques) C. Editing--how what is filmed is put together D. Soundvoice, music, & sound effects; can be diegetic (part of the story) & non-diegetic (not part of the story)

3 Definition Definition Mise-en Scene is what appears in the film frame. 3

4 What is a frame? A frame defines the 3 dimensions of the image we see on screen: Height Width Depth (the illusion of…)

5 What is Mise-en-scène? It is a physical creation and an emotional concept – French phrase that literally means - Staging or putting on an action or scene in theatre or cinema In critical analysis it generally refers to the filmmakers control of such staging, or how a filmmaker determines what the audience sees (and hears) with in the frame of the movie image.

6 Elements of mise-en-scène 1.Design: the LOOK of the setting, props, lighting, actors, costumes, makeup, hairstyling, and décor. 2.Composition: the ORGANIZATION, distribution, balance of actors and objects within the frame, including kinesis (what moves within the frame). Plus:Off-screen and onscreen space Open-framed, closed-frame films

7 Elements of mise-en-scène 1.Setting, Décor, & Props 2.Performance (Actors) 3.Costumes, Makeup, Hairstyling 4.Lighting & Color 5.Composition within the frame, including kinesis (movement) Plus:Off-screen and onscreen space Open-framed, closed-frame films

8 What isn t part of mise-en-scène? Sound Music Narration Editing

9 What are the functions of the frame and the process known as framing? Filmmakers must decide what to include and what to exclude What is seen/not seen (onscreen off screen space) Control distribution, balance and spatial perspectival relations of what appears on screen In controlling framing, filmmakers shape the from, content, and meaning of the image

10 So…… Mise-en-scène results from the filmmakers total control of what occurs with in the frame.

11 Planning a shot means… Placing people, objects and elements of décor Determining their movements (if any) Setting up lighting Figuring out camera angles

12 So generally speaking Mise-en-scène is… The total arrangement of settings, costumes, lighting, and acting - in other words - everything you see. Ultimately Mise-en-scène happens because the director and his/her creative team envisioned it.

13 Composition and Mise-en- scène Mise-en-scène is the product of directorial vision and planning. Composition is the process of visualizing and putting those plans into practice.

14 Composition Basics Organization Distribution Balance General relationship of stationary objects and figures As well as light, shade, line, and color with in the frame

15 Composition & Mise-en-scène Cause effect relationship Calls attention to the actual work of the director and the production team This helps develop a movies narrative, suggests meaning (story boards, models, sketch books)

16 Shaping Mise-en-scène Two aspects of composition Framing - what we see on the screen Kinesis - what moves on the screen

17 Realism Often Evaluative Standard for Film Worlds Notions of Realism Vary More Useful to Evaluate Function 17

18 E.g. Edward Scissorhands (1990) Contrast stylized and banal Mise-en- scène Functions to suggest conflict in story of conformism and creativity 18

19 Early Cinema 1895 Lumiere Brothers First Commercial Films Mise-en-scène of Real Places Actualities 19

20 George Melies Former Magician Voyage to the Moon (1902) One of the First Studios Created/ Not Actual World 20

21 Locations vs. Sets Two Main Traditions of Film Mise-en-scène Pause lecture to watch a clip of these two early cinema versions of Mise-en-scène on Learning Tasks page. 21

22 1. Setting Container, Background for Action or Dynamic; Plays Active Role in Narrative 22

23 I. SETTING A. Setting is where the action occurs B. Three basic options: – 1. Soundstage- interiors & process shots – 2. Studio backlot--full size replicas (towns, streets, houses, shops, etc.)

24 SETTING, CONT. 3. Locations: – a. May be one place, but pretend to be another ("creative geography--see editing) – b. May shoot only establishing & outside shots on location – c. May take whole cast & crew "on location" to shoot exteriors & interiors

25 SETTINGS, CONT. C. Function of sets: – 1. Provide information (e.g. time, place, characters status, etc.). – 2. Create mood & guide our attention. – 3. May play a significant part in the action. – 4. Communicate themes & comment on action. – 5. Can create "special effects" (e.g. low tech solutions to avoid process shots).

26 26 When the mise-en-scène in a movie creates a feeling completely in tune with the movies narrative and themes, we may not consciously notice it; it simply feels natural. Rear Window (1954). Alfred Hitchcock, director.

27 27 Mise-en-scène reinforces characters and themes. Far From Heaven (2002). Todd Haynes, director.

28 28 Some movies challenge us to read their mise-en-scène. The Fallen Idol (1948). Carol Reed, director.

29 Prop Abbreviation for Property Part of the setting that plays active role in action. May reoccur as a motif. 29

30 II. Performance (Actors) A. Usually human actors – 1. Required to make an effective drama – 2. Create identification with audience, enhancing our suspension of disbelief – 3. Bad acting (or outdated acting) prevents this identification.

31 PERFORMANCE, CONT. B. Various acting styles: 1. Natural vs. Stylized (realistic vs. "playing a role") – a. Natural actors re-create recognizable or plausible human behavior for the camera – b. Stylized or non-natural actors seem excessive, exaggerated, even overacted, may employ strange costuming, etc. 1) May distance audiences from characters (e.g. Johnny Depp in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) 2) Often found in horror, fantasy, & action films 2. Improvisational actingextemporaneous acting

32 32 A non-naturalistic performance by Johnny Depp. Edward Scissorhands (1990). Tim Burton, director.

33 33 Robert DeNiro and director Martin Scorsese improvised the lines in this scene from Taxi Driver. Taxi Driver (1976)

34 PERFORMANCE, CONT. 3. Method acting (immersing oneself in the role); chameleon actors--different in every role – e.g. Robert DeNiro, Cate Blanchett 4. Personality actors or actors who take their personae from role to role – e.g. John Wayne, Adam Sandler) 3. Technical acting (using body movements & technique to evoke a role) 4. Type casting vs. casting against type – Some actors deliberately play against our expectations of their personae (e.g. Jim Carrey)

35 35 Cate Blanchetts complete transformation as Bob Dylan in Im Not There (2007) - Todd Haynes, director.

36 Cate Blanchett

37 37 We respond to a single characters expressions as they are shaped by drama and camera. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Carl Theodor Dreyer, director.

38 38 Sometimes film directors expect that the audience will make connections between films spanning decades. Anna Karina in My Life to Live (1962). Jean-Luc Godard, director. In this scene she is at the movies, watching….Joan of Arc…

39 PERFORMANCE, CONT. – 5. Nonprofessional actors, cast to bring realism to a part e.g. the ordinary people in Winters Bone C. Performance categories: – 1. Stars – 2. Character actors & roles – 3. Major & minor roles – 4. Bit players and extras – 5. Stand-ins & stuntpersons – 4. Cameos (rarely credited, often famous people)

40 PERFORMANCE, CONT. 5. Styles change over time – a. earlier films may seem overacted to modern audiences – b. Silent films adopted the acting style favored in the 19th-century theater – c. Exaggerated facial expressions, strained gestures, bombastic mouthing of words – d. The 1950s featured emotional method acting, such as James Dean

41 PERFORMANCE, CONT. d. Performance challenges: – 1. Importance of casting & problem of miscasting – 2. Challenge of shooting out of sequence (movies usually shot out of narrative order, for convenience or cost) e. Film techniques can alter or "create" a performance--skillful photography & editing can mask a poor performance.

42 III. COSTUMING & MAKEUP A. Can enhance setting; must be appropriate for the time, place, etc. B. Can be realistic vs. stylized (more in fantasy) C. Can serve iconographic or symbolic functions (i.e. white hat/dark hat dichotomy for hero/villain)

43 Costumes and Makeup Like Setting, Function in Story Realistic, Unobtrusive or Stylized Allusion in Breathless 43

44 Naturalist Makeup DeNiros Nose, Eyes in Raging Bull (1980) Function unobtrusively to create resemblance to real person and support performance.

45 Nicholson in Batman (1989) Highly Stylized, Exaggerated Costume/Makeup Characterize Joker as theatrical, aberrant.

46 46 The Leopard (1963) - Luchino Visconti, director. A film whose mise- en-scène (esp. set design & costuming) perfectly complements its narrative and themes.

47 IV. Lighting Allows us to see action Directs our attention Impacts how characters appear 47

48 Light Quality Intensity Soft: diffused, less contrast Hard: defined, sharp contrast Redford in The Natural (1984) 48

49 Three Point Lighting Key: Main Source Fill: Eliminates Shadow Back: Rim of Light =Depth 49

50 Three Point Lighting (continued) For Each Major Character Time Consuming, Expensive Creates Clear Compositions 50

51 High Key Low Contrast Soft Detail Clarity Hollywood Optimism 51

52 Low Key Contrast Hard Shadow Mystery Danger 52

53 Chiaroscuro Italian lightdark Painting Rembrandt 53

54 Color Mostly White, Yellow Colored Light Symbolic Function Pause lecture for clip from Traffic (2000) showing the symbolic use of color. 54

55 Traffic (2000) Blue, Yellow Light Symbolizes Traits of Mexico/U.S. Coldness, Entitlement/Arridity, Violence Common Color Stylization Cultures Linked by Globalization (Drugs) 55

56 IV. USE OF COLOR IN Mise-en-scène A. Color can refer to many things: 1. Color film stock [see chapter 2] 2. Use of color filters for light [see chapter 2] 3. Use of color in sets, costumes, etc. B. Mise-en-scène concerned mainly with color in sets, costumes, etc. C. Color shows different types of characters, places, moods, etc.

57 USE OF COLOR, CONT. C. Types of color (in both Mise-en-scène & cinematography; see pp.66-70): – 1. Saturatedintense & vivid – 2. Desaturatedmuted, dull, & pale – 3. Warm colors – 4. Cool colors

58 58 Gone with the Wind (1939). Victor Fleming, director. A turning point in Hollywood film productions use of color.

59 59 The Court Jester (1955). Melvin Frank & Norman Panama, directors. Use of saturated Technicolor - verisimilitude is a factor, but authenticity is not always ensured regarding costumes, makeup, or hairstyle, particularly in historical films.

60 60 Sleepy Hollow (1999). Tim Burton, director. Desaturated color; all the elements of mise-en-scène creates this unified look (composition, costuming, set design, etc.).

61 USE OF COLOR, CONT. D. Expressive uses of color (varies from culture to culture & context): – 1. Color motifs or patterns (a motif is a recurring element in a film) – 2. Specific symbolic meanings of colore.g. Black, White, Red, Yellow, etc. – 3. Alternating or contrasting use of colors

62 62 American Beauty (1999). Sam Mendes, director. The use of color for symbolic emphasis.

63 Stylistic costuming, saturated color. Moulin Rouge (2001). Baz Luhrmann, director.

64 V. SPACE & COMPOSITION A. Spatial aspects of setting & composition: 1. Depth cues--illusion of 3-D space in 2-D medium: a. Overlapping objects b. Obstruction shots c. Deep focus (see cinematography) d. Forced perspective (illusion of depth & distance with smaller rear sets, etc.) 2. Frontality cues--cue attention to figures in the foreground (instead of background) 3. Rack focus [see cinematography on web site…]

65 65 Gosford Park (2001). Robert Altman, director. Note the depth cues (foreground & background; in addition the British upstairs/downstairs theme is reflected in the design of the setting and decor.

66 SPACE & COMPOSITION, CONT. B. Composition--arrangement of subjects in frame (also known as framing): – 1. Balance--taking sides; symmetrical to asymmetrical – 2. Rule of thirds (horizontal & vertical) – 3. Diagonals, triangles, or other groupings – 4. Contrasts a. Can be of tone & color, light & dark, etc. b. Also of shape & size

67 67 Spartacus (1960). Stanley Kubrick, director. The rule of thirds directs our eyes to obvious areas of interest within a cinematic composition.

68 68 Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles, director. Deep framing, slightly off-balance.

69 69 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Robert Wiene, director. Asymmetrical, stylized set composition (combined with the painted sets) reflected the anxiety, terror, and madness of the films characters.

70 70 Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles, director. Note the triangular composition, along with the deep focus (through the window).

71 71 The Bicycle Thieves (1948). Vittorio De Sica, director. Italian neorealism. A more balanced & natural composition- -the rainstorm was real, and the scene was filmed on location.

72 The Best of Our Lives William Wyler What does the composition of picture 1 suggest? What does the composition of picture 2 suggest?

73 73 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). William Wyler, director. The relationship between composition and mise-en-scène: Another triangular composition.


75 75 Late Spring (1949). Yasujiro Ozu, director. Japanese directors Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Yasujiro Ozu have consistent visual styles and beautifully balanced compositions; here we have triangle composition.

76 SPACE & COMPOSITION, CONT. C. Functions of effective composition – 1. Physical relation of actors to each other & to the overall frame can significantly affect how we see & interpret a shot. – 2. The long take & deep-focus cinematography provide opportunities to create scenes of greater-than-usual length & broader, deeper fields of composition. – 3. Long takes also encourage ensemble acting

77 SPACE & COMPOSITION, CONT. D. Proxemics--close or far distances between characters & objects: a. Tight--people & objects close together b. Loose--people & objects far apart c. Objects used as barriers (e.g. screen doors, bead curtains, etc.) d. See camera distance

78 78 Juno (2007). Jason Reitman, director. Loose framing. The intent is to convey setting & time of day, but the long shot with balanced composition (& desaturated colors) reflects additional meanings. For one thing, Juno is unbalanced with the rest of the frame, small, almost unnoticeable, reflecting her feelings.

79 SPACE & COMPOSITION, CONT. – E. Other uses of space: 1. Matte (painted) backdrops 2. Camera angles [see cinematography] 3. Looking into windows, mirrors, etc. 4. Use of empty space 5. Use of offscreen space

80 80 Hamlet (2000). Michael Almereyda, director. Mirrors and self-confrontation.

81 VI. OTHER ASPECTS OF Mise-en-scène A. Movements of actors & objects [also see cinematography & editing]: – 1. Lateral movements (side to side) – 2. In-depth movements (away from or up to the camera) 3. Symbolic movements (e.g. specific gestures such camera tilting from feet upwards to convey suspense, power; etc.).

82 82 Royal Wedding (1951). Stanley Donen, director. Movies can make anything and anyone move in any way the story calls for.

83 OTHER ASPECTS, CONT. B. Passage of time through Mise-en-scène: 1. Title cards 2. Close ups on calendars & clocks 3. Character make-up 4. Changes in the set (e.g. winter to summer scenes, etc.) 5. Length of shot [Time also indicated through various editing techniques – see web site]

84 OTHER ASPECTS, CONT. C. References to the outside world – 1. Product placements--ads justified under the name of "reality. – 2. Allusions --references to something else a. To real world things or events b. To other texts (called Intertextuality) c. Can be homages or parodies Well return to some of these concepts throughout the course…

85 Framing: What we see on Screen Cinematic seeing = framing – The frame of the cameras viewfinder indicates the boundaries of the cameras point of view. – The frame offers filmmakers complete control over 2 kinds of cinematic space Onscreen space Offscreen space

86 Onscreen Space Inside the frame Includes the people and objects the filmmakers want us to see Creates relationships between people and objects and focuses our concentration on what we see by excluding the rest of the world from the frame

87 Off Screen The spaces beyond the 4 borders of the frame The spaces beyond the movie settings which call attention to the entrances to and exits from the world of the frame Space behind the camera

88 Off Screen Space in Stagecoach (1939), directed by John Ford

89 Off Screen Space in Stage Coach (1939)

90 Open Frame People and things can enter and leave the frame Generally used in realistic films Frame can be seen as a window on the world

91 Open & Closed Frames

92 Open Frame: Cast Away

93 Closed Frame Neither characters nor objects enter or leave the frame Generally used in antirealistic films example: expressionistic films

94 Closed Frame: North By Northwest

95 95 Ikiru (1952). Akira Kurosawa, director. Some movies develop their narratives within both open and closed frames. Note the characteristics of the closed framing in this shot.

96 96 Ikiru (1952). Akira Kurosawa, director. A movie can begin in a closed frame, suggesting entrapment, and end in an open one, suggesting the characters ability to determine his own fate.

97 Kinesis: What Moves on the Screen Perception of motion in film Can be accomplished in many ways Music in an otherwise static scene Movement of objects and characters with in the frame an by the apparent movement of the camera (moving frame) How the elements of cinematic form are handled determines how we will interpret all movement in a movie.

98 Kinesis Continued All movies move – some move differently than others Kinetic quality of many movies is determined by their genres – War stories, cartoons, and comedies include more and faster movement than love stories or biographical films

99 Movement in the Frame: Crouching Tiger (2000) directed by Ang Lee

100 Movement of figures within the frame Most important figure – the actor How do all the actors move with in the space created to tell the story Where and how a figure moves may dictate the width, depth and height of the setting in which the movement occurs

101 Movement in the Frame: Buster Keaton

102 Review A. Planning a films Mise-en-scène means making advance decisions about the placement of people, objects, & elements – 1. Setting up the lighting – 2. Figuring out camera angles & determining the initial framing of the shot – 3. Choreographing the movement of the camera during the shot – 4. Creating sounds that emanate from the shot B. Effective Mise-en-scène creates a convincing sense of time, space, & moods – 1. Suggests a characters state of mind – 2. Relates to developing themes

103 Sources: Looking at Movies by Richard Barsam Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson Dr. Barbara L. Baker, U of Central Missouri Professor Aaron Baker, Arizona State University Professor Lisa Jadwin Ph.D. – St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY Maccray High School, Raymond Minnesota

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