What is mise-en-scene?
Mise -en-scene originated from French theatres and its direct translation is “placing on stage” but in the film industry it means everything in shot i.e. what the camera can see. Mise-en-scene usually refers to the place where the film is shot. The use of semiology is ever present in mise-en-scene. Titles that have been added to the screen in post production add to the experience. Just the clothes the actors are wearing tells you a lot about their personality and what they are doing at the time. For example, if there was someone running in casual clothes you might think they were running away from someone, or that they were late, but if the actor was wearing running gear it tells you they are running because they enjoy it or they want to get the exercise.
Why is it important?
Mise-en-scene is important in putting across a message or atmosphere and how visually appealing the scene looks.
I have chosen a scene that I will analyse using mise-en-scene
Fast and Furious 7
MusicAreaHQ. 2015. Furious 7 Opening Scene EXTENDED [HD] Jason Statham. [ONLINE] Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRqxHOCvnpo. [Accessed 7 October 2016].
The first scene of Fast and Furious 7 uses mise-en-scene to introduce the characters. The interesting thing about this scene is that it was one shot on one camera. There were no camera cuts. It starts off with an establishing shot of London with subtitles to tell the audience that are not familiar with the place where it is. The field of view shifts to reveal one of the main characters looking out of a window. We are then shown a hospital bed with a patient lying in it. The patient is either unconscious or asleep as he doesn’t move and his eyes remain closed. From the amount of equipment around the patient, it tells the audience that he is in a very bad condition. The main character holds up a gun and gives it to the patient revealing that the patient, is in fact,his brother. This shows the violence of the character and the type of person he is. Although most of the attention is on the main character, you can see two doctors/nurses huddled together in the background. Their clothes indicate they work at the hospital and the fact they are huddled together in a corner shows they are frightened of something. After that, the main character makes a threat to them which indicates they are scared of him. We then follow him through the hospital and see dead bodies of special forces operatives everywhere and hospital staff running away. We can see bullet holes in the glass window of the door and in the walls. There are bits of debris falling from the ceiling and because the main character doesn’t seem fazed by all this mayhem, we are led to believe that he was the one who caused it. This is confirmed when he hands a grenade to a special forces operative and walks away. Most of the ground floor is on fire. He walks through the bullet covered doors to reveal the outside of the hospital and you then see the amount of damage that has been done. Next, you see a beam fall in front of the door. There are two army style vehicles on fire at the front of the building which is probably what the special forces arrived in. He then leaves in his untouched Jaguar. The character is immediately recognised as the definite villain early on in the scene because of the hospital staff huddled in the corner, the gun he gives to his brother and his English accent. The background music starts off creating the feeling of tension.