Mise-En-Scene In The Matrix
Although the average viewer is rarely conscious of it, mise-en-scene is both a powerful and important cinematic technique in film. Mise-en-scene allows the director to guide the viewer s attention to what they should be looking at so that important details are not missed and trivial details are not focused on. Many effective elements of mise-en-scene are illustrated in the white room scene in The Matrix, in which directors Andy and Larry Wachowski use only minimal setting, costume, and staging in a very effective way. Quite often, film scenes are filled with a variety of props and have rich, textured backgrounds. This scene, in contrast, is played out in an empty, white room with minimal props; two chairs, a television, a table, and a remote control. The television looks like an old set from the nineteen-sixties, perfectly normal except for the fact that there are no wires coming out the back. The old, Victorian red leather chairs have wooden faces carved into the ends of the arms. The props are placed symmetrically in a small part of the white space. The chairs are on either side of the television with the small table sitting between them. The Wachowski brothers rely on a limited palette of colours in their setting; the dark reds and browns of the set pieces create a startling contrast with the stark white background. The background plays with the viewer s sense of depth, as well. The television is in the foreground with the table and chairs behind it, but with no horizon line it is impossible to tell where the space ends, if it ends at all. It also provides a contrast to the next scene, in which the same props and characters are dropped into the present-day earth, with a grey and black background. This contrast corresponds with the theme of illusion versus reality in the film. Despite it s sparseness, the setting makes a significant contribution to the mise-en-scene. Another important element of mise-en-scene is costume. Neo is...
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