Reflection on the extent to which mise-en-scene affects the sequence in Assignment 1 Clothes film
How does the scene feel?
- there is a sense of mystery; slightly poetic feel
- feels open ended – we are left wondering who the figure is, where he is, why he is there and where he is going
- the scene feels empty
The sequence opens with a low angle, rotating shot looking up through the tree canopy. This opening shot of the trees, bare and lifeless, in silhouette against the sky, sets a dark, slightly oppressive, wintry mood within the sequence. Bringing us down to ground level within the forest, the second shot frames a figure walking through the trees into the distance. Subsequence shots show the forest floor, the figure’s boots in the mud and hand moving along the trunk of a fallen tree, and a flare of sunlight. We see a figure, out of focus, in the distance, stepping over a fallen tree and again in close up, standing beneath an old redwood tree. There is a sense of mystery, as we are left wondering who the figure in the forest is. But these questions are left unanswered, as the figure disappears back into the forest.
How has this been achieved?
- choice of location
- use of specific colours
- the presence of a single, solitary figure
How has mise-en-scene played a part in this?
- setting plays an important role in the sequence
- the forest is central to the sequence
Is there any meaning conveyed through the mise-en-scene?
- this may be a little vague
- there is an unknown figure walking through a somewhat benign forest
- a figure with a sense of purpose
On looking back at the mise-en-scène and its effect upon the sequence within the clothes film, I now realise how important it is to consider everything within the frame before I start filming. I think my use of mise-en-scène within the clothes film (i.e. setting, costume, lighting, staging) contributes to the atmosphere and meaning of the sequence in several ways. The forest setting is clearly a place that is empty and dormant, yet the trees, bare and lifeless in their winter state, are still quite majestic. The costume worn by the figure (walking boots, hat and fleece jacket) is appropriate to the wintery setting. The blue jacket contrasts with the subdued colours of the forest, helping to emphasise the human figure and picking it out against the background. Apart from the opening shot of the trees, there is a bright natural light within the landscape that helps give a benign feeling to the forest. This is in contrast to the opening shot that hints at something darker and more claustrophobic. The figure in blue moves through the forest with a sense of purpose. Though what that purpose is remains unknown.
However, having looked at the part played by mise-en-scène in the sequence and the atmosphere and meaning conveyed within it, I still feel there is much lacking both visually and in terms of meaning within my film.
This has been a very useful exercise for me. It has opened my eyes to the importance and cinematic power of mine-en-scene, and provided me with a vocabulary and grammar for the analysis of mine-en-scene in my own work.
This task has also revealed a number of flaws in my approach to mise-en-scène that need addressing as I move forward in my moving image practice.
Looking at other films and analysing the ways in which other filmmakers use mine-en-scene to convey meaning within a scene will prove an important step forward in my own moving image practice.
Building my own resource of research material will provide me with examples I can draw upon when planning my own moving images.