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Mise-en-scene – The principle

Mise-en-scene is the principle by which a piece of film will derive its meaning wholly from what happens in the single shot and not from the relationship between two shots. For example the director might include shots with various composition, angle, depth, movement, and lighting. Citizen Kane has many good examples to show Mise-on-scene usage. The scene that I believe is the most significant and powerful mise-en-scene that I have this seen this semester exists in this movie. This occurs when the parents of the young boy are speaking with a gentleman in the house.

As the people are speaking we see the boy playing in the snow as we look into the background through the window. This scene represents the innocence that is stolen from him in this exact moment. Here he is pure and innocent and naive, but we never see him in this state after the pivotal change that is taking place without his knowledge. The boy ultimately stays in the middle of the frame the whole movie this making this part the most dramatic of the movie. A decision is being made on the boy’s life and the boy is unknowing of it and doesn\’t have a care in the world as he plays in the snow.

The entire movie is affected by this one scene that continues with the boy in the middle the entire time. His dying word is “rosebud”. This is the sled that he was playing with during this important scene. Without this scene we would not know the importance of the sled at the end. Although the audience is unaware at the time of the scene, but the concentration of the movie is really the focal point of this scene. The camera is moving many times as the three people who seem to be the focus of the scene are moving. However, the real point of the shot lies with the boy in the background which is never not in the shot.

Another movie that had a great impact on me was Persona. There were many important scenes in this film, but there was one example of mise-en-scene that sticks out in my mind. This is the scene when the nurse is chasing the actress along the seashore. The actress is walking swiftly away from her along rocks, while the nurse is trying her hardest to catch up to her. This scene comes directly after the nurse yells at the mute actress and slaps her across the face. It seems the whole movie she is trying to be nice to this woman and the one time that she stands up to her, she runs away. The nurse is begging for forgiveness.

This scene really proves how weak the nurse is emotionally and mentally. She is sobbing and in a state of hysteria and the actress still will not forgive her. This reveals a lot of the actress’s persona too. It shows that she does not really care much for the nurse, even though she is just trying to help her. The scene ends with the actress walking off and the nurse running in the opposite direction towards the water. She stumbles and cries and then the scene is over. This scene tells us, the audience a lot about the personality of both women not just in this scene but in their lives.

The nurse is a caring woman who will do almost anything for her patient or probably anyone at all. The actress seems to be a heartless unforgiving bitch. These points are proved throughout the movie, but I believe that this mise-en-scene is the most powerful of them all. 2) Many devices such as theme, subject and meaning reflect different aspects of a film. The time and place that the movie is made are usually affected but this. A great example of this would be the film Breathless, directed by Godard. This is a story of the love between a small-time crook who is wanted for killing a cop, and an American woman who works for a French newspaper.

Their relationship develops as the man hides out from the police. Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. Godard also uses cuts that seem, to jump from one scene to another, with what seem to be deliberate \”mismatches\” between shots. This is what makes this movie so special. It could never have been made before it had been. It was made in the post worlds War II era in the year 1959. The plot and subjects reflect this, because there really is no major plot except for the one that I have already described. This was a revolutionary movie in that aspect.

This movie was made in France, partly because that was where it was set, but mainly because that is where the new director could afford to make such a makeshift movie. Another example of a movie that shares such aspects is Citizen Kane. There are many references in this fictional movie to a non-fictional man. This man would be William Randolph Hearst. He was a self made millionaire quite like the main character of the movie. Hearst was also was in the business of journalism. He lived a very eccentric life like that of Kane’s. He was politically involved in the 1930’s as a pro-Nazi and in the 40’s as an anti-communist.

This was similar to Kane’s character that ran for office in New York. While Kane enjoyed the luxuries of Xanadu, Hearst had his own castle at San Simeon. These are the similarities on screen between the two, but behind the scenes there was a heated debate over the making of this movie. Hearst did not want this movie made even though it was not exactly a portrayal of his life. He was a very rich and powerful man who did all that he possibly could to not have this movie made. However, since the movie was made in the United State Orson Welles’ rights were protected from him and he was able to make this movie.

This movie with its strong political and cultural aspects would not have been able to have been made in any other country at this time in cinematic history. 3) Themes play a major role in many movies. This is the way a director is able to express the main point of the movie in his or her own way. A good example of a movie that does this is Forest Gump. This movie is directed by Robert Zemeckis. The movie takes place over a span of thirty years and all focuses around the life of one man. During this period we see the way a boy grows to a man in body, but remains a child in heart and spirit. A major theme in this movie is destiny.

Forest’s mother tells him that God has a special plan for everyone. However, his platoon leader tells him that there is no such thing as fate and that everyone is moving around like “dust in the wind”. Sort of like the Kansas song (just kidding). I think that the director had an opinion somewhere in-between these two theories. God gives us some things, but it’s up to you to make a lot in your life happen. The director shows this theme many times throughout the movie. An example is the feather that opens and closes the story. The feather gets caught in the wind and is carried to forest who picks it up and puts it into a book.

Many things happen throughout the movie that may or may not have been Forest’s fate. Such as meeting John Lennon and telling him what Vietnam was like and therefore inspiring him to write the lyrics to the song “Imagine”. He also meets Elvis and teaches him how to do his trademark pelvis swing. The movie ends with the same feather floating out of the book that his son is now reading many years later. Another movie with a theme that a director is trying to express is Raging Bull. It was directed by Martin Scorsese. This is a movie about an Italian boxers rise and fall in his career and in life. A major theme in this movie is jealousy.

This is shown when Vicki, his wife, comments on the good looks of a young boxer. Jake the main character immediately tells her to shut up and leave the room. He obsesses over the comment that she makes and finally apologizes and takes her out to dinner to make up for it. Another example is when he accuses his brother of having an affair with his wife even though he has no evidence to believe that this is true. He is an extremely strong man, being a professional boxer, and he beats the two of them. The director shows this theme whenever there is an element of sexuality; it is always followed by an outburst of jealousy.

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