What does a cinematographer do?

A subforum to discuss film culture and criticism both old and new, as well as memorializing public figures we've lost.
Message
Author
User avatar
carax09
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:22 am
Location: This almost empty gin palace

#26 Post by carax09 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:53 pm

Yeah, it's too bad Doyle didn't keep his thoughts to himself. That way the movies wouldn't have been as visually exciting or inventive, but at least you would have been able to respect him more. And whoah, like omigod, that is so important (to be read like a valley girl).

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#27 Post by david hare » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:12 am

And whilst some directors like Pialat and Renoir will allow actors to miss their spots, this, then, is a directorial choice, a visual choice.
The way Renoir GENERALLY worked was to rehearse "all' Italiana" - i.e. have the cast read through the parts entirely without inflection, and subsequently go into the filming allowing for a high level of spontaneity (and improvisation) in the performances. Thus Renoir and his cameraman, whether brother Claude or others were prepared to let spots - or "marks" go and simply follow the actor. But not always. Something like la Bete Humaine almost looks anti-Renoir with big star CUs, a high level of decoupage, chairoscuro studio lighting and so on. And with the River Renoir was constrained by both the short budget and the presence of young amateurs, requiring an almost entirely montage/decoupage based mise en scene. In contrast the majestically inspired la Nuit du Carrefour, or even Boudu are movies for which he and his cameramen must have been alert to every breath taken on the set, as they seem to literally invent themselves as they proceed along. Performance, movement, readings group dynamics. Miraculous.

As for Directors not knowing the technical language of the camera - there was Hitchcock, whose knowledge of lenses, lighting, print processing etc was encyclopedic, ditto Sternberg, who also edited his movies in the camera, like Ford. And then the other great Director DP partnerships like Sirk and Metty, Mann and Alton, etc. Even contemporary directors like Michael Mann and DP Dion Beebe evidently worked closely together on not only the "look" of Miami Vice but necessarily other aspects of the mise en scene like movement, performance, sets, cutting, etc.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#28 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:41 am

Nothing wrote:
MichaelB wrote:insofar as being given a chance to plan the look of the entire picture in advance
For someone so clearly concerned with clear sentence and paragraph structure, that's an awfully muddy statement. Yes, the DoP will usually be involved in planning certain aspects of the entire picture in advance - eg. the film stock, the desired f-stop, the tone of the lighting, maybe the colour scheme. Things like that. The technical means by which to achieve a certain look. NOT the shot list.

And whilst some directors like Pialat and Renoir will allow actors to miss their spots, this, then, is a directorial choice, a visual choice.

And, zedz, many directors also operate (outside North American Union shoots, where the unions forbid the practice). The practice was even more common before the advent of video assist (although Kubrick was both operating and using video assist on The Shining).

Of course it can go the other way too. Christopher Doyle is absolutely a DoP who will usurp the role of a less-established director on set. I have heard many stories of this, but then I would consider him a co-director on these movies (at the least), whether credited or not. I also consider this trait a failing as a DoP.
Sir I says it before and will say it again-- there is no rule in this zone. The boundaries flux depending who's working with whom. You're statement
Nothing wrote:Or, to put it another way, perhaps there are two different 'views' on what the responsibilities of a director should be: the French/auteurist viewpoint and then the American/British viewpoint as expressed by MichaelB
is one of the most amusing I've heard on this whole site. You're clouding this decent forum with stuff you're virtually making up on the spot as you randomly organize the information in your head for your own convenience. You'd do well to develop an internal monitoring device that reminds you that, like all individuals, your voice and your identity is the center of the universe for you and therefore is apt to be assigned far too much weight when looking to summarize The Whole World filled with activities which are beyond your eyesight and perception, performed by strangers who are the centers of the universe in their own heads, and would read your comments about What They Do-- like the unanimity of folks here-- with amused astonishment.

When a director & dp go to work they do not say "Let us now owing to our geographic and cultural traditions adhere to the American/British viewpoint of cinematography," or vice versa with "French/Auteurist", simply because the reality of such oversimplified rubbish, if held as authentic by any brain anywhere, is that they are... well... oversimplified rubbish. And so where do the Russians fit in? The Swedes? Bergman's style shifted enormously with the arrival of Nykvist. And what about the Germans, who were pioneers of the "art film" and provided perhaps the most muscular examples of the "asset" cinematographer.. that is, dp's who were jealously coveted and hoarded by directors lucky enough to work with them.

As I mentioned a few days ago there are as many variations of the director/dp work-divisions as there are directors/dp's themselves. There are no paradigms in actual practice governing the precise boundaries of "what a director does" photographically. There are two things in operation here in this discussion: what goes on out in the real world on sets/location, and what we say here regarding that work that goes on. The two are not connected. We are just Talking Here. It seems you are almost determined to miss the reality of the variety of human cooperation, & talent-quirks, moods from picture to picture, laziness from moment to moment, enthusiasm from project to project, etc... especially the way you minimize as "so-called" directors those who lack a distinctive visual style (like those who come from the stage). The difference between What Goes On Out In Industry, and What We Say Here About It are as mutually exclusive as the act of Fucking, and your attempt to describe in universal terms What Fucking Consists Of. You say there is a French Pepe le Pew style of romance, and there is the Brit/American style of in/out-in/out. The truth is that among the French are probably as many if not more boring lays than the rest of the world, and that in America where the stick it in.. go-in/out-then-come paradigm rules, there are sexual nutheads like me who climb and slither around their woman like a cross eyed rapist klanking and nudging the wand against and into all soft parts from forehead to ankle and demanding the messiest possible finish. Some want their partner to work them over while they lay back, others are the aggressors.

It's like this not only with photographing a film but editing it, scoring it (some directors famously dictate precisely what they want scene by scene to their composers, others place this entirely in the composers hand), and performing it. Some Bressonian directors want "models" who express no opinion on what a part should consist of, others have far more technical (versus aesthetic) talents and would be finished without a stellar cast of imaginative performers of the Attenborough/Jannings/Laughton/ Simon/(early)DeNiro stripe.

And I'd warn against denigrating directors with no extravagant visual style, or those whose strengths lie in the working with actors (Scorsese, Coppola, after all-- the contributions of Willis and Storaro in his two masterpieces cannot be overstated.. counting GODFATHER as one work) and in the conception of the idea and feel of a scene, and leave the deep painterly beauty and atmosphere of cinematography to a brilliant cinematographer. Look at the work of Vittorio Storaro for Bertolucci in CONFORMIST.

The work of William Friedkin in FRENCH CONNECTION & EXCORCIST; the work of a man like Fleischer in TEN RILLINGTON PLACE. These are films with non-extravegant visual styles, and thank god. Comments like
Nothing wrote:Yes yes, I realise there are some so-called directors who abdicate responsiblity in this department - but these are generally theatre directors masquerading as film directors (eg. Sam Mendes), along with the occassional justified experiment (Dancer in the Dark, Natural Born Killers, Cannibal Holocaust). However, most of the directors taken seriously on these boards, most of the time, will at the least tell the DoP where to put the camera(s) and what lens to use.

are absurd, as anyone who doesn't fit into your own idealized version of What A Director Should Do Photographically is naught but a fraud masquerading as a director. You're probably not aware that you've lopped off probably more than half of the memberships of all the directors guilds of the world. The kind of reply represented by your above quote signals to the person conversing with you the brick wall you've erected to the possibility of learning and expanding your worldview with impressions of reality. It's like we're talking about cars, lets say, and you say "The only real car with an engine worth anything must have at least six cylinders," and I say "Waitaminnit! The BMW for example has some excellent four cylinder engined models with excellent power and acceleration," and you say "Yes yes I know there are some so-called cars with four cylinders but these are not real cars, they are contraptions masquerading as cars etc,"..

User avatar
GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#29 Post by GringoTex » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:04 pm

MichaelB wrote:(And as a result, it's pretty easy to tell by eye which Eric Rohmer films were shot by Almendros, the only really world-class DoP he ever worked with)
I never really gave it much thought until you brought it up, but there is a distinct difference between the Almendros Rohmers and the non-Almendros Rohmers. There is a more conspicuous recognition of the settings. That said, I'm not sure I don't prefer his more "insulated" films like Aviator's Wife, Good Marriage, and Full Moon in Paris.

Nothing
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:04 am

#30 Post by Nothing » Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:31 pm

Shrekk, it's interesting that you bring up Coppola and Bertolucci, two directors I find entirely overrated. Whereas Scorsese, of course, has a command over both his actors and his mise en scene...

The style doesn't have to be extravagant or even overt, I'm just saying the director should know what they are doing... and, of course, many don't. But you can TELL. And I do hope I have loped off more than half of the directors' guilds in the world.

As for the US/European dichotomy, of course you have US filmmakers who are closer to the European tradition and vice-versa, however I was making reference to the attributes that tend to be more valued more within these respective cultures - American film culture is undoutably more focused on performances and narrative, whilst French film culture is traditionally focused more around the director and the mise en scene although, admittedly, most films from all parts of the globe seem to be merging into one great big homogonized stinking stew these days, but then I try not to think about that...

User avatar
Person
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 3:00 pm

#31 Post by Person » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:16 am

There are many great films where the visual style - precluding the sets and costumes - is almost purely down to the cinematographer. This is why I often prattle on about DPs on this forum. Sidney Lumet primarily concentrates on refining the script, casting and rehearsing every scene before shooting. But he has almost always chosen to work with a grade-A cinematographer: Boris Kaufman; Gerald Hirschfeld; Oswald Morris; Gerry Fisher; Geoffrey Unsworth; Owen Roizman; Andrzej Bartkowiak; David Watkin, etc. The style of his early black and white films is consistent, with deep focus being employed throughout. The color films shot by Gerry Fisher also employ deep focus. Fisher was one of those DPs who could stamp his style on a movie and many of the films that he shot have similar camera angles and movements.

User avatar
Faux Hulot
Jack Of All Tirades
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:57 am
Location: Location, Location

#32 Post by Faux Hulot » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:44 pm

It's also a dirty little secret that DPs often direct by default, especially when it comes to confidence-deficient first-timers. For instance a friend who was involved says that Edward Lachman should have at least received a co-directing credit for "Virgin Suicides."

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

#33 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:46 pm

I don't have my copy to hand to check the exact wording, but didn't Bruce Robinson insist on the camera operator on Withnail & I getting a disproportionately big opening credit because he did so much that was well beyond his job description?

(Robinson has always freely acknowledged his debt to the Withnail crew - he had no directing experience whatsoever and was totally reliant on experienced professionals to handle the technical side of things).

In fact, now that I've brought up the subject of camera operators (as opposed to DoPs), I thought I'd dig out this heartfelt obituary of Mike Roberts, one of the best in the business, yet someone pretty much totally unknown outside his immediate professional circle.

User avatar
Oedipax
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:48 am
Location: Atlanta

#34 Post by Oedipax » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:58 pm

Faux Hulot wrote:It's also a dirty little secret that DPs often direct by default, especially when it comes to confidence-deficient first-timers. For instance a friend who was involved says that Edward Lachman should have at least received a co-directing credit for "Virgin Suicides."
Interesting. Herzog mentions on the Stroszek commentary that Lachman was a great help in communicating with some of the local non-actors during filming. And Lachman did receive a co-directing credit with Larry Clark on Ken Park.

User avatar
Person
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 3:00 pm

#35 Post by Person » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:22 pm

Mike Roberts was a genius with a camera. He was one of Gerry Fisher's operators on Sidney Lumet's, The Offense (1972). The Company of Wolves has some amazing camerawork.

Ronnie Taylor is probably my favourite operator. John Harris was also brilliant. Ernest Day deserves a mention.

User avatar
miless
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#36 Post by miless » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:37 pm

I would say that my favorite living cinematographer would have to be Robby Muller... it's just too bad that he isn't really doing anything these days (although his work with Bela Tarr on the prologue to Visions of Europe is possibly the most beautiful single shot I've ever seen)

User avatar
Magic Hate Ball
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

#37 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:14 pm

I've just got to ask: what is a mise en scene? I've heard the term tossed around a lot but never really applied to anything.

User avatar
Person
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 3:00 pm

#38 Post by Person » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:31 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:I've just got to ask: what is a mise en scene? I've heard the term tossed around a lot but never really applied to anything.
The totality of where actors are positioned in the frame; the position and angle of the camera and the lighting.
Last edited by Person on Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#39 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:53 pm

Person wrote:
Magic Hate Ball wrote:I've just got to ask: what is a mise en scene? I've heard the term tossed around a lot but never really applied to anything.
The totality of where actors are positioned in the frame; the position and angle of the camera and the lighting.
Even more generally, what appears in the frame: so it extends to blocking, set decoration and art direction, camera position, camera angle, movement within the frame (actors changing positions, curtains blown by the breeze) and movement of the frame (tracking, panning, zooming). Sometimes it's easier to pinpoint what doesn't count as mise-en-scene: good vs bad performance (apart from physical movement and positioning), dialogue, music and sound (though you could argue that diegetic sound is often dependent on the mise-en-scene), montage. Though there's not always agreement about which of these elements are actually excluded.

This topic is a potential rabbit-hole, or rabbit warren, or black hole, or rabbit-in-a-black-hat, so it might be worth spinning off into its own universe if there's interest in exploring it further.

User avatar
tryavna
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

#40 Post by tryavna » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:55 pm

zedz wrote:This topic is a potential rabbit-hole, or rabbit warren, or black hole, or rabbit-in-a-black-hat, so it might be worth spinning off into its own universe if there's interest in exploring it further.
Where's David Hare when you need him?

User avatar
Andre Jurieu
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: Back in Milan (Ind.)

#41 Post by Andre Jurieu » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:49 am

The term is also a pretty good indicator of whether or not you are talking to some pretentious asshole who likes talking around a film instead of about the film. They will often say something like "the director's mise-en-scene was perfect," but they won't actually tell you why they found it to be flawless. Sorry, just a pet-peeve of mine.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

#42 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:57 am

Andre Jurieu wrote:They will often say something like "the director's mise-en-scene was perfect," but they won't actually tell you why they found it to be flawless.
Surely "the director's" is redundant anyway?

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#43 Post by zedz » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:43 pm

Andre Jurieu wrote:The term is also a pretty good indicator of whether or not you are talking to some pretentious asshole who likes talking around a film instead of about the film. They will often say something like "the director's mise-en-scene was perfect," but they won't actually tell you why they found it to be flawless. Sorry, just a pet-peeve of mine.
Yeah, it's such an all-embracing term that evaluating it as good / bad / strong / weak is meaningless without further elaboration. I think another factor is that there's a large degree of ambiguity about what's in and out of mise-en-scene (so people using the term in a discussion may not necessarily be meaning the same thing), and, I suspect, a lot of people use the term without a clear idea of what it means, even to themselves.

And, of course, not every director is Mizoguchi, and a large part of a film's mise-en-scene may be determined more by convention (shot / reverse shot conversations, traditional establishing shots, etc.) than by creative decision making on the part of the director or other collaborators.

User avatar
Magic Hate Ball
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

#44 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:34 pm

I'm going to just assume it's sort of a bullshit term and use it to get into film school.

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#45 Post by david hare » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:31 pm

Where's David Hare when you need him?
I was hiding in a rabbit hole dodging Andre's golf balls.

Mise en scène began life as a generic term in French cinema in the 20s and 30s to generally indicate the director - "mise en scène de..." The term gained greater force of meaning with the post war critics, and of course the famous Politique des Auteurs. In fact, a distinction grew up between directors whose mise en scene (to cut it short "means of expression") were clearly expressive of a distinct directorial personality, or directors who were merely "metteurs en scene" - to cut it short, second rung directors whose felicity of expression did not however manifest a distinctive directorial personality - thus endless feuds and arguments between cinephiles of various stripes over many years. I still have a seriously cineliterate friend who regards Powell and Pressberger as metteurs en scène. I think he's nuts.

It ought to be pointed out also, the French term decoupage which, during the thirties had a substantially conjunctive meaning to mise en scene, was originally used in essence to express the general filmic rhythms vis a vis cutting, camera movement montage - in short the grammatical "layout' of the film's visual style.

But like mise en scène, decoupage got into the hands of English language critics and by the 90s or earlier was becoming so overused that the original meanings have simply become debased.

I frankly don't disagree with the view that Anglo cine-dudes who rattle off the term mise en scene (or decoupage if they can get that far) without any reference to elements of what they mean, are indeed wankers.

It's all a but like Veda in Mildred Pierce when she's playing the piano with Joan Crawford listening.

Joan says: That's nice dear, what is it?

Veda: Valse Brillante by Chopin, mother. That means brilliant waltz.

Joan: Yes Dear.

User avatar
Magic Hate Ball
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

#46 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:30 pm

So you might say Ingmar Bergman or Alfred Hitchcock or Wes Anderson all have fairly individual mise en scène? Ingmar Bergman (from what I've seen) has claustrophobic cinematography, natural (or attempted-to-be natural) lighting, and sparse soundtracks, Alfred Hitchcock has somewhat airy cinematography, somewhat "stage-y" lighting, and Bernard Hermann dramatic soundtracks, and Wes Anderson...is Wes Anderson.

Am I getting the idea? Or am I just way off?

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#47 Post by david hare » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:44 pm

No not really, but there's a good point to be drawn from this.

Given the recent bucket-kicking of Bergman and Antonioni and the inevitable (and ludicrous) comparisons, here are my own distinctions. Bergman strikes me as stylistically distinct insofar as he employs - generally - theatrical techniques in terms of staging, blocking and direction of performance. Not to mention the important fact that he is also coming from a strong tradition of early 20th Century dramatists like Ibsen and Strindberg. But I don't view him as a strong mise en scene-ist. If anything the purely "visual" tropes of his films are entirely the product of his long time DP Sven Nykvist. This is neither good nor bad but purely an observation. (Although if you want to view aspects of decline in a great director's work, look at Hitchcock after the death of Robert Burks, not to mention the departures of Hermann and editor supremo Agostino.)

Antonioni on the other hand is someone I would very much call a mise en scene director. His formal expression is at the core of his movies' meanings - thus particularly after he adopted widescreen from L'Avventura onwards - the long pans and tracks, and the dispersion of performers within landscapes, the manipulation of color into an element of density in the image, and so on. And again this is neither good nor bad but simply a description of the modus operandi of MA as a director.

Preminger is, I believe another mise en scene director. Hawks is not. Although in both cases economy and concentration of expression is surely maximized by the use of cinematic grammar, performance, music, lighting, etc etc etc.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#48 Post by zedz » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:21 am

Wikipedia is at least useful in documenting some of the confusion!

As to Magic Hate Ball, I guess if you can look at a single frame from a film and recognise the director's visual signature (as you probably could with Wes Anderson and absolutely could with Yoshida Yoshishige), then you're recognising an "individual mise en scene" (but that's not to say that another "individual mise en scene" might not be more subtle and not so evident from a single frame). Music (the use of which may, as you point out, be very much a part of a director's style) is generally not considered an aspect of mise en scene.

David, above [EDIT: in his first post, not the interceding second one, which I generally agree with], is alluding to the (in my opinion false, or at least misleading) dichotomy between mere "metteurs en scene" (guys who film stuff that's in front of the camera) and full-fledged "auteurs" (artists who employ the tools available to them - including mise en scene and decoupage - for individual expression), which has fuelled decades of often unenlightening point-scoring and demarcation disputes about who the "real" film artists are.

Which is a whole nother kettle of fish. But it does add to the confusion in the sense that "metteur en scene / mise en scene" has historically often been used as a putdown (which is really unhelpful when somebody's trying to explain how it's an auteur's use of mise en scene that establishes that he - inevitably a he, in those discussions - is no metteur en scene). Aargh!

Personally, unless you really are talking about the totality of the visual expression (and have something meaningful to say about it), it's much more useful to frame discussions in less ambiguous, more precise terms (framing, lighting, blocking, movement). Your observations not only have a better chance of being understood, they're also likely to be more focussed and valuable.

Further to David's second post, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Hawks is not a mise-en-scene director. He's got his own visual compositional 'language', though it's not as distinctive as the more individual stylists we've mentioned, and he uses it expressively. In Hawks' case, this comparative lack of distinctiveness may be a mark of how much he drew from - or informed - "classic" Hollywood storytelling. And with Hawks, you can point to an awful lot of non-mise-en-scene elements that indicate his directorial personality (specifically in his treatment of characters and themes).

Within the 'classical Hollywood' tradition, Walsh and Ford strike me as good examples of "more mise-en-scene" than Hawks, in the sense that I think David's using this expression. The essential meaning of key shots in their films is often conveyed in purely visual terms, particularly in terms of the relationship of figures to landscape and each other (e.g. the killing at the centre of Pursued, the appearance of Indians on the background crest as the characters ride along in the foreground in The Searchers).

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#49 Post by david hare » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:08 am

Yes, it's not easy trying to make these sorts of subtle and detailed distinctions in relatively short posts, when you consider volumes have been written about them, and semiotic arguments continue to this day.

When I called Preminger a mise en scene director what I was getting at was this: he has at first glance what seems like a fairly transparent and direct visual style, like Walsh - long takes to set up sequences, editing which can accomplish multiple narrative transitions in the most economical manner and far fewer angle/reverse angle setups than usual for example. But this is where his signature in fact becomes apparent. Preminger's principal concern is to throw a veil of ambiguity around characters and their motivations, and one of the ways he expresses this "objectivity of ambiguity" is through the movements and placement of his camera. In that sense the camera becomes an inquisitorial observer allowing for shifting points of perception in, say Laura, when Andrews, after scouring Laura's apartment, and the beginnings of his obsession, wakes up to find Laura very much alive at the door. Indeed the whole of Laura is an intricate devolution of several characters who become apparently defined to us through their "views" of Laura. Laura herself remains an obliquity. (only Cliffie gets her right.)

The opening of Angel Face is another masterful example. Mitchum leaves the apparent failed suicide upstairs with Marshall and the detectives and as he comes down the stairs the piano music fills the room. With a very few shots ending on a Medium in which Mitchum approaches the camera to tight CU Preminger immerses the viewer, and Mitchum, IN THE PROCESS of the single shot into a trance-like state, which he then just as suddenly and literally slaps back into "reality" with the astonishing slapping and counter slapping between Simmons and Mitchum in one of his rare angle/reverse/angle setups.

What I'm trying to say when I describe a director, particularly American directors as mise en scene-ists is that the thematic core of the pictures is very substantially expressed through the particulars of a specific mise en scene.

User avatar
Andre Jurieu
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: Back in Milan (Ind.)

#50 Post by Andre Jurieu » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:20 am

Magic Hate Ball wrote:I'm going to just assume it's sort of a bullshit term and use it to get into film school.
That sounds like a good idea, but based on the horror stories in our film school tread, the acceptance committee might not know what the hell you're talking about.

Joking aside, my perspective on mise-en-scene closely matches zedz. Every movie has a mise-en-scene, but it's kind of up to the viewer to determine whether that mise-en-scene is of value (and what that value is), whether it is unique to the filmmaker, whether it is applied in an innovative manner, whether it successfully conveys it's intended purpose, or whether it significantly adds to the narrative. Actually, a pretty good starting point is this feature at Reverse Shot (I would start with the introduction, though the discussion of sound being used within the shots is not mise-en-scene).

Post Reply