JCM412512/Mise-en-scene (Discussion)

From Screenpedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

How does mise-en-scene help to communicate the story in these scenes from Ordinary People (Robert Redford, 1980) and Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998)? Or, in other words, how does mise-en-scene function to help construct the narrative?

To access password-protected material:

UserName: tcfaccess
Password: tcf123abc!

Ordinary People

Breakfast scene from Ordinary People.


Shakespeare in Love

Opening shot from the Shakespeare in Love scene.


From IMDb plot summary :

Romantic comedy set in London in the late 16th century: Young playwright William Shakespeare struggles with his latest work "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter". A great fan of Shakespeare's plays is young, wealthy Viola who is about to be married to the cold-hearted Lord Wessex, but constantly dreams of becoming an actress. Women were not allowed to act on stage at that time (female roles were played by men, too), but dressed up as a boy, Viola successfully auditions for the part of Romeo. Soon she and William are caught in a forbidden romance that provides rich inspiration for his play. (For more, see Wikipedia.)

Out of the Past

Discussion questions

  1. What narrative meaning does the set design suggest? Or in other words, what narrative function does it serve? How does it help to establish the characters and their relationship? What are "objective correlatives" or "icons"? How might we see them in action in this scene, helping to build the narrative?
  2. What narrative meaning does the costume design suggest? Or in other words, what narrative function does it serve? How does it help to establish the characters and their relationship? How might we see objective correlatives/icons in action in this scene, helping to build the narrative?
  3. Describe the four basic characteristics of light in film--including specific instances of three-point lighting and high/low key lighting. (See Mad Men lighting grid.) What narrative meaning does the lighting design suggest? Or in other words, what narrative function does it serve? How does it help to establish the characters and their relationship? How might we see lighting's characteristics in action in this scene, helping to build the narrative?
  4. What narrative meaning does the actor movement (that is, "blocking") suggest? Or in other words, what narrative function does it serve? How does it help to establish the characters and their relationship? How might we see blocking in action in this scene, helping to build the narrative? If this were a silent film, what narrative meaning would be signified by blocking?

Ordinary People

  • Groups 1 & 5: question 1
  • Groups 2 & 6: question 2
  • Group 3: question 3
  • Group 4: question 4

Shakespeare in Love

  • Groups 1 & 5: question 2
  • Groups 2 & 6: question 3
  • Group 3: question 4
  • Group 4: question 1

Out of the Past

  • Groups 1 & 5: question 3
  • Groups 2 & 6: question 4
  • Group 3: question 1
  • Group 4: question 2

Bibliography

  1. Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture (Routledge)
  2. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill)

External links

  1. Television illustrations, chapter 8
  2. Mise-en-scene Illustrations
  3. Ordinary People video clip
  4. Ordinary People screen shots
  5. Out of the Past video clip
  6. Out of the Past screen shots
  7. Shakespeare in Love video clip
  8. Shakespeare in Love on IMDb