My Movie Year: 1957

Fandango Groovers Movie Blog is having a day were bloggers post about their favorite year in movies. It is not the “best” year as deemed by others, but rather it is my personal choice. I had a lot of fun participating and I think you’ll have fun reading!

Here goes nothing:

Being a very indecisive girl, picking just one year was really hard. I tossed and turned over the decision more than I should have. As if somehow the neglected years would be offended by my choice (I’m a bit odd at times). After much research and thinking about what I really like, it was clear, 1957 is the year for me. It has a little sample of everything I love about film. The following five movies really speak to me, all in very distinctive ways. Here I will post little mini reviews on these films (and link to my longer ones as I write them). Enjoy!

12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet

12 Angry Men is not an “action-packed” film. 12 men basically just sit around a room and talk for the whole movie. And somehow you are still on the edge of your seat. The level of tension is equivalent to a Hitchcockian thriller. Our hero, Henry Fonda, plays a juror who feels that there is not sufficient evidence to put a defendant to death. The other 11 just want to get it over with and head home, but Fonda takes his duty seriously. Each juror has a distinct personality and justification for their decision. Fonda goes to great lengths to convince these men, performing monologue after amazing monologue. Lumet also does a great job with the direction. Every camera movement is so efficient and subtle that you almost don’t notice how brilliantly it’s done.

Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa

While 12 Angry Men is driven by witty and powerful dialogue, Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood does not put the same weight on the spoken word. This film’s visuals make it a masterpiece. Kurosawa took my favorite Shakespearian drama, Macbeth, and transported the narrative back to medieval Japan. He did not worry about translating every line perfectly or making it all in iambic pentameter, but rather he really captures the “feel” and emotion of the Scottish play. The cinematography and mis-en-scene are among the best that Kurosawa has ever done (and if you know his work, you know that is high praise). I love a film that embraces the fantastical and poetic, like Throne of Blood does.

Also, it has Toshiro Mifune in it, how can I not love it?

[My full review]

Witness for the Prosecution, Billy Wilder

This is probably my favorite movie ever. Along with Laurathis film is one of the reasons I am such a film buff today. I watched Witness for the Prosecution when I was little and it really stuck with me. It has a special place in my movie loving heart. It’s not an accurate portrayal of the British justice system, but who cares? Charles Laughton plays a crotchety, old lawyer. He was always a brilliant defense attorney, but now is ill and should not take difficult cases. Of course, that lasts all of 5 minutes and he ends up taking a fascinating murder trial where nothing is what it seems. The film is worth watching for Laughton alone. The rest of the stuff is just icing on the cake. (I do have to give kudos to Wilder, he got great performances out of all the actors, wrote the witty screenplay and captured it all wonderfully)

Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman

This is one of those “must see” films for any fan of cinema. Whenever people say things like that it just sounds like a boring, preachy, pretentious film. Seventh Seal, however, is anything but. Believe me, it will be one of the most profound and beautiful movies you will ever see. It is a story of the calamities of medieval Europe and the struggle to find peace between life and death. The visuals are so striking, you will remember them long after the credits roll. After watching it, the most interesting conversations will arise between you are your fellow viewers. You could talk about it for years and not run out of things to say. Even if it just consists of “I need to learn some chess, so I  can cheat death, y’all,” you will have a great time.

Nights of Cabiria, Federico Fellini

Guilietta Masina gives a brilliant performance as a naïve, optimistic prostitute in Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. Her life is one tragic disaster after another, but she keeps moving on. She is so adorable and goofy in the film. You know the men are conning her, but you can’t help but hope that this time around it will be okay. The story will break your heart, yet is somehow inexplicably uplifting. Also, just look at the picture I put up there. It is so beautiful. When I was picking a screen cap I was having a horrible time. There are so many great shots it was overwhelming, in a good way :P! This is the only Fellini movie I’ve seen (I know, it’s bad), and this film makes me want to watch a whole lot more!

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Throne of Blood [蜘蛛巣城-Kumonosu-jô]

Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa (1957) [110 minutes]

I adore watching adaptations. Some are truly awful, taking the original work and tearing it to proverbial shreds. On the other hand, some are brilliant. These take a familiar story to a new, fascinating place. I love seeing how different cultures, generations, or mediums interpret the tale. In Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa takes Shakespeare’s Macbeth (If you need a summary/refresher on the Scottish Play click on that link) and transports the play  to Feudal Japan. Macbeth is probably my favorite of the Shakespearean dramas. Watching one of my favorite directors, Kurosawa, make it a film, is a true delight.

Kurosawa takes many liberties with the plot of Macbeth. He crosses this masterwork of British drama with his native Japan’s Noh theater. Noh is a medieval form of extremely stylized, high theater. The basic story of Macbeth remains in the film, as well as the themes that drive through it, but the visuals are unlike anything we would see on Shakespeare’s stage. The acting illustrates this beautifully. While watching the film the facial expressions seem a little exaggerated. The performances may appear over the top to American eyes, our theater tends to be more naturalistic. In Noh the actors wore masks to represent different characters and emotions. In Throne of Blood, he doesn’t go that far, but he told his actors to mimic those masks with their expression and they wore makeup to further highlight that. You will see our Macbeth, called Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), and his Lady (Izuzu Yamada) use this hyper expressiveness a lot throughout the film. Until I found out about the Noh and the masks, I found it all enjoyable but still rather confusing. This is one of those cases that the more you know, the more you can enjoy the film. You don’t need to know much! Just a little bit about Noh and a little more about Macbeth and you’re good to go!

The narrative is structured in a circular format. That’s not necessarily a big deal, many movies start and end in the same place. The way that Kurosawa weaves this tale is different from most of what I’ve seen. It’s not just the final scene that is “repeated”, but many scenes throughout the film. In the beginning, there is a scene in deep fog, a conversation with the demon (who replaces the three witches from Macbeth) and a montage of the characters riding through the forest. You will see those scenes again at the end, but with a completely tone and context.

This storytelling technique, along with the Noh influence make you hyper-aware of the narrative structure. Nothing in the film is realistic, and there is no attempt to make it seem so. Personally, I find this kind of refreshing. Throne of Blood fully embraces that fantastical, poetic tone, which makes the film such a delight. The problem I have with many Shakespeare adaptations is that they really suck all the fun out of it. They’re so worried about the dialogue and how faithful they are to the play. It becomes a bunch of people showing off how great they are at acting and British accents. You watch them in high school just so you don’t have to struggle through the written play. With Kurosawa’s version you may not get an A on that English paper on Macbeth, but hey, that’s what sparknotes is for!

Nerdy Linguistics Moment: The Japanese title literally means “Castle of Spider’s Web/Spider’s Web Castle.” I can see why they changed the English one, though. Throne of Blood sounds more enticing.

Famous Fans: According to this article T. S. Eliot said that this was his favorite movie! If you don’t buy my recommendation, you’ve got to believe him 😛

Commentary Critique: The commentary for this film is among the best I’ve ever heard. It was so informative and entertaining. A little tip: I generally watch commentaries while doing some menial task (like laundry); that way you are getting something done and learning something in the meantime!

How to watch: The dialogue isn’t too important in the film. Sometimes I noticed that I hadn’t been reading the subtitles for the last few minutes… oops! This film is so visual, though, that you really don’t miss a beat. You learn much more by what you can see, rather than what you hear.

Who to watch with: Again, this film won’t help you with your English test on Shakespeare, but I found that I learned more about what the play is truly about by watching this. So watch this with Shakespeare fans and non-Shakespeare fans (hopefully this will convert them!).

Final Verdict: You will have a good time watching this. Especially if you keep that Noh theater stuff in mind; the film will make much more sense. And even if you still don’t “get it,” just enjoy it. I still don’t understand why most of the stuff that happens goes on, but it didn’t take anything away from the experience. If anything, the mystery made it more entertaining.

Now, watch it and let me know what you think! 🙂

Laura

Laura, Otto Preminger (1944) [88 minutes]

The first time I watched Preminger’s Laura, I became a film fanatic.Watching this movie with my dad as a young girl is one of my favorite memories. Immediately after it was over, we re-watched the entire thing again, this time with the commentary. It turned this already interesting film into a completely fascinating experience. I loved learning all the detail that went into making this movie. The more I heard the more I wanted to know. After this, I practically devoured every movie I could find, especially film noirs, which quickly became my favorite genre.

The level of detail and the amount of subtlety in Laura is lost on a first time viewer. This is the type of film that you  must watch over and over and over again… But don’t be discouraged! It’s still very good the first time you watch it (what’s the point if it isn’t?).

The film starts off with Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), investigating the murder of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). She was shot in the face with a double-barreled shotgun in the dead of night. He questions and investigates the myriad of characters that surrounded Laura in life. Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) is a wealthy writer who acts as her mentor. Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) is Laura’s bumbling, ladies man of a fiancée, who has been living off her aunt’s, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson), fortune for quite some time. All these people divert and draw suspicion to themselves throughout the film. You never know who to trust. The film has some very shocking twists, yet the story is still believable. I abhor when I watch a movie and there is a twist out of nowhere that is “surprising”, but it’s pathetically nonsensical rather than being well-written (and Laura is certainly the latter).

Preminger shot this film in the “invisible camera” style, popular in Classic Hollywood era. In this style, audience doesn’t/shouldn’t  notice when or how the camera moves or any evidence of editing. The purpose is to fully focus the viewer on the story and have them ignore the mechanics behind it all, which tend to “destroy” the illusion. Achieving this style is not as simple as it sounds. The camera has to always be where it needs to be, largely keeping its distance from the characters allowing the audience to act like a detective who analyzes and observes the action. In addition, the camera zooms into closeup so rarely that when it does it adds weight to the moment.

This film is atmospheric. Like a dream, it is not a gritty detective story: fast and impatient. The film takes its time, showing us all the characters, their different stories and flaws. The amount of detail in the set designs is outstanding. Laura and all the suspects are very wealthy. Their homes contain a great amount of antiques, art and other expensive looking objects. Some of these things play a huge role in the narrative, almost becoming characters themselves.

The biggest factor in creating the dream-like mis-en-scene has to be the portrait of Laura [pictured above]. Located in her apartment, a large amount of the action happens around it. When I heard the commentary track, I found out some interesting things about the painting. Apparently, while they were filming the movie, they treated this object like it was another person in the frame. The way that it was lit, composed and positioned in relation to other actors was as if it where Gene Tierney herself. As the film progresses we see the detective become enamored with the murder victim. He becomes obsessed with the portrait; he gazes at the painting and it seems to look right back at him. There is one moment in the film, during one of the major twists, were the painting is very haunting and almost surreal in relation to its surroundings (sorry to be so vague! I just don’t want to spoil it, if you want more specifics ask in the comments bellow. Believe me you will love it!).

On the surface, this film appears simple. It is very short and it can seem like not a lot is happening (it takes a while to “get started”). Most of the scenes center around dialogue rather than action. The twists, however, are shocking and fun! I was just re-watching it with my brother before writing this review. He was having a great time trying to guess who the murderer was. I think you guys will like this film. It is not a big time commitment and you get much more than you would expect out of it.

[I was going to put a trailer here but all the ones I saw were either too long or full of spoilers!]

Musical Moment: Don’t worry, no one breaks out in song and dance (it would be a little out of place!). I just wanted to mention the film’s score, written by David Raskin. It’s the song playing throughout this trailer. It is so perfect for the film! Its one of those scores that elevates an already great movie to another level.

Special Features: The commentary tracks are very good. They are informative and entertaining!

Adaptations: I know that this is originally a book. I have it on my pile of books I have yet to read, which has been largely untouched throughout the school year. Have any of you who read the books think that this is a good adaptation? I’m curious to know.

How to watch: This one you can watch in English (I bet you thought I would never say that). I watched the DVD and the quality was pretty good, but not great. I looked on Amazon and I don’t see any Blu-ray options available, but we better get one very soon. Also, watch this on a stormy night, film noir always seems even better when its miserable out.

Who to watch with: There is a lot of dialogue in Laura. Make sure that you watch it attentively. Also, its pretty good for bookish kids, like I was. With all the dialogue and atmosphere it feels like a really great novel at times.

Final Verdict: Maybe I’m a little bias, I mean I really love this movie. I’ve loved it for so long and I adore re-watching it. It is smart, stylish, suspenseful, mysterious, dreamy and overall wonderful. If it can inspire this much passion in me, you really must give it a try.

Now, watch it and let me know what you think! 🙂

No Longer Cinema’s Ugly Little Brother: The Golden Age of TV

Now, you guys all know that I love the movies (I mean I have a blog about it, for god’s sake). But, I have to admit that I do “cheat” sometimes with my television shows. I can go months and months without watching any movies in theaters, but if I miss a single episode of Mad Men on Sunday night, and some loser spoils it for me, I completely flip. Within the past few years there has been talk of how that TV has gotten better than the movies. Television shows develop characters better, their plot lines are more nuanced, and they take more chances and risks. It seems that TV is in the midst of a creative Golden Era, and the movies stand no chance. Is this true? Part of me feels like it might certainly be the case.

When looking at different posts about this topic, I have run into a variety of opinions (like one always finds on the internet). Some lean more to the “movies are still way more awesome” side of the spectrum while others say that “TV runs circles around your dumb movies.” Out of all these posts, though, no one lies entirely on one end or the other. Everyone is hovering around the midpoint , tilting slightly to their respective sides.

Let’s have a look at what some of these befuddled bloggers and jaded journalists have to say:

Oliver Lyttelton’s post starts off with a quote that says it all: “Super-producer Scott Rudin (“The Social Network”) perhaps summed up the feelings of many when he told GQ that ‘For all those people who spent years trying to get movies made at all the companies that are now gone, there’s now one place to work where you can get respectfully treated and fairly judged. It’s HBO.'”

Many of the greats, whether they be directors, writers or actors, are now finding homes in television (particularly the aforementioned HBO, AMC, and Showtime). Here these artists/creators can really tell the stories they want. They have arguably more freedom at HBO than they would at a Hollywood movie studio. If you’re on paid-cable you don’t have to worry about appease in MPAA. Also, because TV shows have so much airtime, they can compose intricate, detailed plots with realistic, multidimensional characters and play these stories out in a patient, detailed way. No movie has the 50+ hours The Wire has to tell its story.

Lyttelon and Steven Axelrod, both speak extensively on how TV is the writer’s world. Directors are there, but they are exponentially more revered in cinema. The director may change from episode to episode and the audience can’t even tell. Lately, it is very “in” to have a famous movie director make the pilot, but after that they never appear again. Like the Boardwalk Empire premiere was filmed by Scorsese, which was amazing, but he hasn’t done one since.   The writers room is what stays consistent.

Television is a narrative based medium. The plot is what gets people talking, debating and passionate about the show. Cinematography and other visual elements aren’t as important as they are in the movies. Shows are made so quickly. Creators generally rely on set group of shots and setups in order to get it done in time. You usually don’t talk to your friends about how lovely that tracking shot in the restaurant was, but rather how the drunk character failed to realize that he cost himself a new job and how “mad” you are about it. These moments can fuel debates and discussions for months or weeks, it is hard to find a film that does the same.

We have all either witnessed or been a part of a TV show’s fanatical base. I know that I am all the time! A.O. Scott in the New York Times asks is it is possible for a movie to create the level of devotion, which comes easily to a great tv show, such as Lost or Firefly. Lost was a phenomenon in and of itself. Everyone was talking about it. They were all wondering what will happen/what the hell was going on. Whether it be at work, school, or the internet, you could not escape it. When Firefly was unjustly, cruelly cancelled (I’m not very being impartial here, am I?) its fans were so devoted that they managed to get a movie released to conclude the series. When was the last time a film inspired such action or passion in their audience?

Now, all three of these articles stated that they feel that cinema still holds a very important place in our culture. There is just something about the movies that still puts them a step above the rest. However, sometimes it feels that it is much easier to get access to good TV (legally). Good movies are selectively released in big cities or just play in festivals. What we see in most cities, is a bunch of 3D re-releases and remakes of movies that were awful to begin with. In comparison, we’re starting to look at TV as a serious medium of artistic expression. It is fresh and new. Perhaps TV is going through a Golden Era, while they movies are going through a rough patch.

Cinema is trying to define its place in the 21st century. This isn’t new. It went through a similar problem in the mid 20th century. TVs were popping up in houses all over America. Movie theater attendance went way down. Studios and producers started to use things like 3D and other gimmicks to get people to come out (sound familiar?). After some time cinema managed to bounce back.

Ultimately, I have faith that the movies will figure something out again, but the high quality programming on TV is here to stay. Films may never have that kind of dominance again,  but competition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Hopefully this situation will frighten movie makers out of complacency and inspire some really brilliant films.

Harakiri [切腹- Seppuku]

– After all, this thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a facade.

Harakiri, Masaki Kobayashi (1962) [133 minutes]

After seeing Harakiri, I really need to reevaluate my list of favorite Japanese movies. And coming from me, that is a pretty big compliment (I have a tendency to like all things samurai). It is so beautiful, horrifying, poignant and brash. It shows the hypocrisy and corruption of the ancient Japanese samurai honor code. Kobayashi shows us that this code is just as empty as the suit of armor pictured above.

The story itself is nonlinear, and told through a set of flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks. As a viewer you will switch sides many times throughout the film; it keeps you on your toes, never knowing what to believe. It begins with a samurai (played by Hanshiro Tsugumo) entering a large manor. His purpose is to ask if he can use their courtyard to commit harakiri. He has lost everything, he has no master and has been living in poverty. This is no way for a samurai to live; so, he says that in committing harakiri he would at least die with honor. Now, the lords and their retainers are not too sure that this man’s intention is honorable. At the time, many masterless samurai, called ronin, would go to homes claiming that they wished to commit harakiri. No one wants a person to disembowel themselves in what is the equivalent of their front lawn, so they would usually offer the samurai a job or give them some money. This household believes this man is also out for some cash. They proceed to tell him a tale, it feels like a parable, of a young ronin who tried to fool them. After hearing the tale, the samurai responds with a story of his own.

I must warn you, however. This film is not for the faint of heart. I mean, it is called Harakiri after the ritualistic suicide performed by samurai. There is less violence than one would expect, but when it appears it is very graphic and unsettling. I’m not bothered by too much blood and such, but even I was a little freaked. Unless you’re super sensitive, don’t let it stop you from watching. If you are a bit nervous about it, maybe you can get someone to cover your eyes and ears during those scenes! They give you plenty of warning.

This film is super stylish. Now, by stylish I don’t mean that it has great fashion or interior design skills (even though the costumes and sets are very nicely done). When you watch it you will see what I’m talking about. Every shot is composed perfectly.  It really is a beauty to watch. The trailer bellow will show you what I mean better than any words can:

Nerdy Linguistics Moment: Harakiri and Seppuku mean the exact same thing. Harakiri is just a more vulgar way of saying Seppuku. For more info about what it is click here.

How to watch: Of course, you must watch in Japanese with subtitles. I also must recommend that if you can you should watch this on a nice, big TV. This movie is very visually engaging, so it benefits from a dark room and a large TV.

Who to watch with: This movie is not for children. Teenagers and up are fine, but younger kids will not understand the majority of what is going on and will be pretty freaked out. Other than that most people would enjoy this. As I mentioned before, if you really don’t like violence this will be tough. It is very graphic.

Final Verdict: This is one of the greatest samurai movies I have ever seen. It does a wonderful job of painting a complex narrative full of twists and turns. The visuals and soundtrack are among the best I’ve seen/heard. You will be thinking about this movie long after it ends. It will be the topic of many a conversation with your fellow viewers. So, watch this movie. It may be difficult to get through at times, but it is most definitely worth it.

Now, watch it and let me know what you think! 🙂

The 400 Blows [Les Quatre Cents Coups]

The 400 Blows, François Truffaut (1959) [99 minutes]

Before working as a director, François Truffaut was a rebellious, brilliant film critic (I can’t help but love him a little for that :P). He and some other critics, all working for Cahiers du Cinéma, were fed up with the stuffy academicism that had taken over French film. They wanted to make movies that people could connect to; so the audience could feel that the film spoke to their problems and sensibilities. They decided to make these movies themselves. These films are fun, yet poignant; they are made by movie lovers, for movie lovers.

Their movement, titled the French New Wave, was thrust into the spotlight by this little film, The 400 Blows. This film centers around a young boy, Antoine Doinel, played fantastically by Jean-Pierre Léaud. Attending a strict all-boys school in Paris, he doesn’t fit the mold of a well-behaved young man. He is too creative, too curious, and much too mischievous. His father is largely ineffectual. His mother is absent and doesn’t care about him care unless it suits her interests. Throughout the film, he continually gets into trouble and he has no one to turn to. 

The 400 Blows is filmed in a documentary style on the streets of Paris. The film is actually a semi-autobiographical account of Truffaut’s childhood (poor guy!), and it feels very true to life. The actors performances are impressive, even more so if you consider that they were not given a script to memorize. This is one of the reasons that the movie feels so believable.  The actors had to react as they would in life to the situations they were placed in. Truffaut used this to his advantage, while most directors previously had shied away from giving their performers that much freedom.

Now, as you have probably already inferred, I really liked this movie. It’s funny in parts, but it is truly tragic throughout the narrative. Do not watch this if you are looking for a carefree, happy-go-lucky time. This poor boy goes through a lot, but at no point does it feel exploitative, like one of those movies that the only purpose they serve is to leave you in tears by the ending. It just feels honest. Little boys like this were all over Paris, Truffaut himself was one of them. These melancholic moments are interspersed with silly gags and clever pranks played by Antoine and his friends, and this is what really helps make the movie more than just a melodrama. This film does not preach to you, which I really love (I despise preachy films). I feel like it escapes from that after-school special/PSA feel that most movies about troubled youth take. The children in the movie feel like real kids, not vague sterotypes designed to teach us a lesson.

Extras: I watched the Criterion Blu-Ray release of the film. They did a great job with it. The menu is beautiful and easy navigable. It comes with some nice extras. There are some good interviews with Truffaut and Léaud and they are worth a look. These include Léaud’s adorable audition tape!

How to watch: In the original French with subtitles. The Criterion DVD/Blu-ray doesn’t even have the option for English dub, which is one of the reasons I’m a bit obsessed with Criterion.

Who to watch with: Kids could definitely watch this movie. There is nothing inappropriate. Honestly, you could watch this with anyone. Male, female, whatever I don’t think anyone could resist this.

Final Verdict: Please watch! Believe me you will have a great time. Certain moments (I won’t spoil them for you :P) will stick with you long after the credits roll. If anything just watch it to see Léaud. He is too good and too adorable.

Some Fancy French Words: Mis-en-Scene

If you want to sound smart when talking about movies, this is the post for you! Just pepper some allusions to mis-en-scene (pronounced mees-on-sen)  in there and you’re gold. This phrase seems much more complex than it actually is (probably because its French, for some reason things in French sound waaayy scarier). I promise, though, you know much more about it than you think.

A film can be split up into two parts:  style and narrative. Narrative is pretty much the plot, dialogue and the more literary aspects of a film. Style can be split up further into cinematography, sound, editing and mis-en-scene. Out of those four, three are pretty clear. Cinematography is location, lens and angle of the camera, sound is sound (I don’t have much to say on that one) and editing is the relation of one shot to another.  They all have special awards at the Oscars; thus, we are all mildly aware of them. Yet, mis-en-scene has been relegated to scholarly discourse. When is the last time you read a movie review that mentioned it? That’s what I thought.

I’ve been teasing you with the definition long enough, here it is: mis-en-scene literally means “putting into the scene.” It is a loan word from theater. In film, it refers to essentially everything that appears on-screen/in the frame. It involves the contents and the way they are organized in the shot. These contents are lighting, costume/makeup, decor and the actors. Mis-en-scene is predominately a director’s job. He/She is responsible for all these choices. When people speak of a certain director and their style, mis-en-scene is what they are talking about.

Mis-en-scene is all about atmosphere. Its not plot, but rather it is what creates the “feel” you get from the movie. Its the rain falling while the car drives off. Its the stark contrast of black and white while the man with the gun approaches. Its the actresses incredulous laugh as she undergoes an injustice. Its the moment where the young girl appears in her glamorous dress on the top of the stairs. None of these scenes are vital to the story. We don’t need to see any of them for the plot to be linear and understandable. Without them, however, what would the movies be? All these small details, or tangential moments, may seem useless, but they are what separate the good movies from the really freaking fantastic ones.

If you want to see an example of mis-en-scene creating an atmosphere read my previous post. In there I don’t speak about plot at all. When I talk about the lady on the boat, its all mis-en-scene.

The scenes you remember, the moments you love are mis-en-scene. You go to a movie for a good story, sure. But if that were it, movies wouldn’t be all that popular. People would just stay home and read. You go to a movie for the visual. All the style aspects are a part of that, but mis-en-scene is what you really take home. So, next time you watch to a movie think of your favorite moments. Is it a shadow cast on a wall in a horror flick, an actresses’ moving tears, and so on? And next time you tell a friend about these moments, just mention how it is part of a complex and dynamic mis-en-scene created by the director, and watch them look at you with confusion. Its fun sometimes.

[In this post, I referenced John Gibb’s Mise-en-Scene: Film Style and Interpretation. Its a good book! If you want to learn more about this topic, definitely check it out.]