Mise En-Scene In Cinema

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1.1. The Origin and History of Mise-en-Scene in Cinema

“A term that means everything and nothing very specific.” (Martin 2014)

Coming from the French term for staging, mise-en-scene (pronounced meez-on-sen) can be literally translated as ‘placing on stage’. Although it is now a common term found in the field of film studies, the term mise-en-scene actually originated from theatre play where it used to describe the visual elements of a stage production within the confines of the stage itself (Lathrop and Sutton n.d.). This involves not just the design and arrangement of the props on the stage to set up the scene but also the actors involved, their positioning on the stage, and their performance itself. The term is then borrowed by filmmakers
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Having control over source of light then encouraged filmmakers to begin experimenting with lighting to shade and highlight action in a film (Corrigan and White 2009: 47).

What comes next in expanding the control filmmaker has over mise-en-scene in films is the presence of the sound stage. Usually found within television or film studios, this large soundproofed structure is used to set up and move the sets and props used in film production.

In constructing mise-en-scene, the director and production designer holds an important role in deciding and overseeing the entire process, starting from its conception to the end. In fact, in some exceptional cases, the director’s control and influence over the elements of mise-en-scene and film overall is so prominent that they are considered beyond metteurs-en-scene (or scene-setter) into an auteur (or author) of the film (Film Reference
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And indeed, while a person may not remember how the camera moved in a scene or how one scene transitioned into another after watching a film, they will remember the costumes worn by the actors, the settings and props where a scene takes place, the mood and lighting of the scene itself, and at the centre of it all, the performance of the actor within the scene. These visual elements: the costumes, settings and props, lighting, and the actor’s performance, are all aspects of mise-en-scene which is inherited from its origin in theatre play. The director of the film then ties up all these elements together and they are what gives a movie a lasting impression in the mind of its
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