Aesthetics & Video
Assignment: Write about Mise-en-scene.
In the film industry, the various amounts of different types of film are incredible. But as different as films may seem, they all have one element that links them all together. That element is known as mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene is a French phrase that means “putting into the scene.” Mise-en-scene includes elements such as setting, lighting, costume, camerawork, figure movement and expression (acting). Each movie uses the use of setting, lighting, costume, and acting in a different way to help support the plot of the film.
A film watcher's first perception of the film he is watching is usually the location where the first scene occurs, or the outer appearance of the character taking part in the opening of the scene. This first impression (if you will), can provide watchers with a wealth of information regarding the character and the location, without that information having to be "spoken". On a higher level, this information can be used as a subtext, to enhance the ideas the film is trying to make.
We have many good examples of mise-en-scene used in various films such as Citizen Kane, Rashomon, Double Indemnity, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, etc. One of my favourite films in terms of mise-en-scene is The Bicycle Thief by Victoria De Sice.
It certainly is neorealist, by all the principles one can deduce from the best Italian films since 1946. The story is from the lower classes, almost populist: an incident in the daily life of a worker. Truly an insignificant even a banal incident: a workman spends a whole day looking in vain in the streets of Rome for the bicycle someone has stolen from him. This bicycle has been the tool of his trade, and if he doesn't find it he will be again unemployed. Late in the day, after hours of fruitless wandering, he too tries to steal a bicycle. Apprehended and then released, he is as poor as ever, but now he fools the shame of having sunk to the...