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Through The Lens: Road Films and Mise en Scene October 28, 2009

Filed under: Mise en Scene — aida27 @ 5:32 pm

Road Films:

Road Films are included in a large range of genres including westerns, comedies, dramas, and action films. They often include searching for escape and engaging in quests. The earliest road movies were about discovering new land, and now they can be just about anything. Some of the most famous road films include Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and Ernesto Guevara’s The Motorcycle Diaries.

Two Examples:

Bonnie and Clyde (1964) Directed by Author Penn

Bonnie Parker is bored with life and wants a change. She gets her chance when she meets a charming young drifter by the name of Clyde Barrow. Clyde has dreams of a life of crime that will free him from the hardships of the Depression. The two fall in love and begin a crime spree that extends from Oklahoma to Texas. They rob small banks with skill and panache, soon becoming minor celebrities known across the country. People are proud to have been held up by Bonnie and Clyde; to their victims, the duo is doing what nobody else has the guts to do. To the law, the two are evil bank robbers who deserve to be gunned down where they stand. Written by filmfactsman (IMDB. COM)

Bonnie and Clyde Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5GDcs8i2ng

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Mise en Scene of Bonnie and Clyde

 

Dominant: Where is our eye attracted first? Why?

Your eye is attracted to Bonnie and Clyde first. They are the first

people on the screen, and they are in the viewer’s direct eye line

according to the rule of thirds.

 

 

Lighting Key: High Key? Low Key? High Contrast? Some combination of these?

This scene is shot with high-key light mainly because it is filmed

Outside, natural light was utilized. It is during the daytime so you can see shadows of people and trees.

 

 

Shot and Camera Proxemics: What Type of shot? How Far away is the

camera from the action?

The scene begins with an establishing shot. Then there is a medium

shot with Bonnie and Clyde in the car. The medium shots then get mixed

with close-ups. Once the action really picks up, when Bonnie and Clyde

are being shot, there are a lot of extreme close-ups.

 

 

Angle: Are we (and the camera) looking up or down on the subject? Or

is the camera neutral (eye level)?

The camera is looking up, down, and at eye level. The camera is

letting us look at different points of view of the scenery and the

action. There are high to low angles and low to high angles when Bonnie and Clyde are being excuted.

 

 

Color values: What is the dominant color? Are there contrasting

foils? Is there color symbolism?

Green is the dominant color. It is seen in the surrounding nature,

and when Bonnie and Clyde eat a green apple. Red is the contrasting

foil, and it is very apparent when they are being shot to death. Green

symbolizes growth, and red symbolizes danger and death.

 

 

Lens/ Filter/ Stock: How do these distort or comment on the

photographed materials?

There aren’t any lens filters because the director wanted a very

naturalistic looking film. When the camera pans up to follow the

birds, there is a lens flare due to the sun.

 

 

Subsidiary contrasts: What are the main eye-stops after taking in the dominant?

After the dominant eye attraction, the main eye-stops are the green

apple, the birds, and the shooting scene. The last eye-attraction is

the bird’s eye view after Bonnie and Clyde are both dead.

 

 

Density: How much visual information is packed into the image? Is the

texture stark, moderate, or highly detailed?

There is a great amount of visual information—as much information as

you would see if you were there. The texture is moderate because you

cannot see the detail of the tree’s leaves, but you can see the

person’s emotions.

 

 

Composition: How is the two dimensional space segmented and

organized? What is the underlying design?

If you were to apply the rule-of-thirds to this scene, a lot of the

action happens in the center of the screen. The nature shots are

spaced and wide open, and the action shots are closer together to

capture more detail.

Form: Open or closed? Does the image suggest a window that arbitrarily isolates a fragment of the scene?

Or a proscenium arch, in the visual elements are carefully arranged and held in balance?

The shots suggest a window for the viewer, but the director uses the window  of the car two frame the actors.

There are a variety of shots, but nothing too close up where you would not be able see out of a window.

 

 

Framing: Tight or loose? Do the characters have no room to move

around, or can they move freely without impediments?

The framing is tight throughout for Bonnie and Clyde, but for the

other man, the framing is loose. Bonnie and Clyde are in the car, so

the window frame of the car sets up the framing of the shot, but their

shots are also tight because they are in danger. The man’s shots are

loose because he is not trapped and is in the open.

 

 

Death Proof (2007) Directed  by Quentin Tarantino

Stuntman Mike is a former Hollywood stunt race car driver who targets and kills women with his “death-proof” stunt car. In Act I, Mike surfaces in Austin, Texas to target a group of women whom he knows; Jungle Julia an outgoing, dope-smoking, radio DJ/fashion model meeting her old school friends for a night on the town whom are sentimental model Arlene, and local bad-girl Shanna, as well as bar-nut hippie Pam who tries to make Mike notice her, unaware of his sociopath and misogynist tendencies. In Act II, Stuntman Mike surfaces in Tennessee where he randomly picks another another group of women to stalk all of whom work in the motion picture business; Abernathy is a make-up girl and stand-in wanting a change of pace in her life. Lee is a naive B-movie actress. Kim is a tough-minded stunt woman always wanting action. And Zoe is a fellow stunt woman from New Zealand visiting her friends. However, the second set of girls proves more though to get, and because of a combination of bad luck and Stuntman Mike’s carelessness, the girls decide to turn the tables on their tormentor for revenge of their own… Written by Mike Weiner (IMDB. COM)

Death Proof Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M1r3e1eCNg&feature=fvw

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Mise En Scene of Death Proof

 

 

Dominant: Where is our eye attracted first? Why?

Our eye is attracted to Jungle Julia’s foot first because it is

hanging out of the window, and therefore, is out of the natural framing.

 

 

Lighting Key: High Key? Low Key? High Contrast? Some combination of these?

Low key lighting because the shot remains very dark, and they filmed

The scene when it is purely dark outside.

 

 

Shot and Camera Proxemics: What Type of shot? How Far away is the

camera from the action?

There are a lot of medium shots in the car. There are close-ups the girls

Tare talking in the car before and during the fatal crash. As the women start

to die, the camera shots are extreme close-ups.

 

 

Angle: Are we (and the camera) looking up or down on the subject? Or

is the camera neutral (eye level)?

The camera is letting us view the scene neutrally through eye-level.

There is one shot where we get a birds eye view to see the car going

over the other car, but the majority of camera shots remain at

eye-level.

 

 

Color values: What is the dominant color? Are there contrasting

foils? Is there color symbolism?

The dominant color is black because of the color of the car and they

are surrounded in black. The contrasting foil is red. Red can be seen

flashing in the background throughout the scene to basically symbolize

danger.

 

 

Lens/ Filter/ Stock: How do these distort or comment on the

photographed materials?

The filters give the film a grainy look even though it was filmed digitally.

Subsidiary contrasts: What are the main eye-stops after taking in the dominant?

The main eye-stops are when each individual dies. The scene was edited

to rewind and replay for each death. Each death was filmed in its own

particular way.

 

 

Density: How much visual information is packed into the image? Is the

texture stark, moderate, or highly detailed?

There is a lot of visual information packed into the scene. The

texture is highly detailed because you can see the rain drops on the

car window, the wind going through their hair, glass shattering during

the crashes, and blood goes everywhere when they die.

 

 

Composition: How is the two dimensional space segmented and

organized? What is the underlying design?

When the camera is focused on the car, the car is in the middle and is

isolated by blackness on each side. Space is varied throughout the

individual camera shots.

 

 

Form: Open or closed? Does the image suggest a window that

arbitrarily isolates a fragment of the scene? Or a proscenium arch, in

the visual elements are carefully arranged and held in balance?

The window of the car creates a closed form in the shots. The window also

fragments the scene.

 

 

Framing: Tight or loose? Do the characters have no room to move

around, or can they move freely without impediments?

The framing is tight. The characters don’t have any room to move

around except for when their body parts are flying through the air.

The last death, where the car tires run over the woman’s face, she is

very closed in and cannot go anywhere.