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Example of Film Analysis using Mise-en-scene

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Example of Film Analysis using Mise-en-scene The opening scenes of The Godfather Part Three, (Coppola, 1991), we see the family compound in ruins on a grey wintry day. The lighting is dark and depressing and depicts the nature of what has passed and what might be to come. Something sad has occurred. You need not have seen the previous two films to have some idea of the weight and brevity of the narrative. If the film makers had chosen to shoot that opening scene of the flooded and derelict family home on a bright sunny day how would the audience have known that some form of change has occurred? A family home bathed in sunlight implies happiness and family togetherness. The darkness and brooding cold of the shot tells us that the extension of the narrative that will make up this new film comes from a time of depression and of obscurity for the Corleone family. The opening scenes of The Godfather Part Three also highlight the importance of setting as a way to drive and develop the narrative. The family home is in ruins. It is a grand and once luxurious compound that has fallen into decay and abandonment. ...read more.


Had these characters been quick to move, happy and joyful, would the audience have had any sense of the respect they hold for the institutions of the church and family? Would there have been any sign that the story might be one of guilt and repentance? How could have Michael felt the pain of his own evil in front of God if he was happy and flippant? Would the audience have believed the premise of the film's set up? Add all these elements together: lighting, setting, character expression and movement; the set up of a deeply passionate and complex family saga is laid out before us. The film continues to use soft and shadowy lighting as a motif for the battle between light and darkness that Michael fights up to his death; the setting of home and church continue to contrast with the violence and brutality of their lifestyles and the characters move and express themselves throughout the film in a way that tells the audience that they are serious, deep, brooding people with a weight and burden of guilt upon their shoulders. There are other elements of mise-en-scene that contribute to the development of the film. ...read more.


emphasises his hardship and suffering, and tells the audience more of the morality and nature of that society. The film is shot is an expansive and breathtaking manner. The action contained within the frame captures the epic nature and significance of the story. There is a sense of a huge wide world that exists out there to be discovered. Its colours and people, its magic and brutality are all out there, but often are not in the shot. What is in the shot is the implication of such potential. When Columbus sits on the shore with his son and explains to him his theory of a spherical planet, we do not see the adventure to come, we see only a disappearing ship and the flat ocean. Everything else in our mind's eye is left out. The fall of Castile was the result of a bloody battle, and while the rest of the city was being looted and overrun the film only shows us symbolic gestures of the riots and capture of the city, for example the destruction of the Mosque. We see the congested nature of the streets, but what has been contained within the frame is merely enough to show us what is happening, without showing us everything that is happening. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

While this essay contains many insightful observations, and on the whole is quite well written, it is poorly structured and it has no conclusion of any kind. These are formal requirements so important that their omission severely limits the grade that can be ascribed to the essay, even though I think it's evident that this author has a quite sophisticated grasp of what mise en scene is and how it functions in the context of cinematic storytelling.

3 stars

Marked by teacher Govinda Dickman 10/10/2013

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