Monthly Archives: February 2014

Blog Post-5 Lord of the Rings

When we think of Mise en scen the only movie that came to my mind was The lord of the rings trilogies. In one of the scene Frodo is shown in in forgroung with the image of the city of Riverdal in the background  to show jus how small Frodo is. The lighting of the scene is soft and almost radiates a gold, and gives  a glowing feeling. The audience has a feeling that it’s a nice place to be. The props, costumes and make up suggest that the character is happy, he also has a dark facial expression with the rest of the scene making the focus him. The movement of the character in this shot is slow as he steps outside and takes everything in the thought that Frodo is a small Hobbit in a very big world, it makes the watcher aware of what a big quest he will be embarking on during all three films.

In another scene of the movie, Frodo is inside a cave battling the giant spider. The is a lot of different than the first scene. in this scene, you don’t really see Frodo clearly. It is also very dark, and there is no background in the picture. Frodo is looking scared and surprised and is defending himself from whatever is attacking him. This clothes look old and dirty, because of the strenuous traveling he has been doing.


Post 5—Janie Jones


For post number 5 I wanted to discuss the movie Janie Jones, because it’s the most successful film for an example of mis-en-scène. It was filmed in 2010 and featurea Abigail Breslin and Ethan Brand. It’s about a young girl who’s mother was a former rock band’s groupie and as a Result ended up wIt’s Janie. Janie’s dad abandoned them having been unaware he’d gotten Janie’s mother pregnant. Janie’s mother obtains a drug usage problem and ends up leaving Janie with her father at random. At this point, Janie’s father is a somewhat fading rock star and doesn’t believe he’s her father so is very resentful to have to keep her around while he’s “touring.”

The film is filmed entirely in a dark kind of lighting that gives it a very vintage feel. It’s got a mellow indie soundtrack to it, and Abigail Breslin’s unconventional look is very fitting for her character. She plays the role of a 13 or 14 year old girl who appears too young to take care of herself but proves to take care of both herself and her lost father who eventually comes around to appreciating her.

There are a few musical scenes where we get to watch her and her father perform and both have beautiful singing voices that adds to the sentimental ordeal that Janie’s has to face because of her parents’ carelessness.



This movie gives off a very nice vibe, and it’s all due to the soundtrack and filter used on the film, but most especially to the actors chosen for the movie.  Breslin and Brand make us wish we knew their characters in real life.


Avatar – Blog Post 5

For this week’s blog post, I decided to watch James Cameron’s Avatar starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, among many others. This film takes place on the moon Pandora with the main character, Jake Sully, a disabled army man using an actual robotic avatar that he controls as if it was him.

After reading what Mise-En- Scene actually was, this movie immediately stood out to me. Every single aspect of this movie involves an extremely high detail of design; in the characters as well as the settings, and especially the decor. Image

Each setting on Pandora is a very highly detailed computer animated scene. The setting at night is even more amazing with the many contrasting colors caused by the bioluminecent plants that interact with the environment. The wide range of plants make up for a beautiful decor to help add to the already breathtaking setting of Pandora.

The amount of detail even in the decor is never sacrificed. Even smaller plants are highly detailedImage

Perhaps the most vivid detail of all are the actual characters in Pandora. Every aspect of these creatures are captured from the patterns on their face and features such as their large cat like eyes and ears right down to the freckle like spotting on their faces. Each Avatar also has their own distinct personality complete with their own sense of cultural identity such as necklaces or beaded hair or even colored streaks.


For me, as well as many others, each time watching Avatar, has me thinking to myself “I wish I can visit Pandora.” I think part of the great success of this movie has a lot to do with the design. Just recently, as a matter of fact, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida has decided to create a vast new land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Pandora, to give visitors a chance to finally go and visit this amazing place and interact with the characters, walk through the setting, and lose sense of reality in the decor.

Ryan Augustowski

Blog Post #5 – Godfather Pt. II

I chose Godfather Pt. II for this week’s blog post because of Francis Ford Coppola’s mastery of mise en scene.

The intercutting editing chronologically allowed Coppola to provide more power towards a particular moment and manipulate the audience into the message and motifs Coppola is accentuating. The wardrobes allowed the viewers to understand what time period it was while also telling you the level of success they were having at the time depending on what they were wearing.

The visual characteristics of the film are open as the cinematographer Gordon Willis is famous for using natural light in the Godfather series to represent mood. I believe because of the chronological order and tragic fate of gangsters in film represents the characters in a closed frame. The relationship of design elements share both open and closed frames as the Godfather series is iconic for thematic visuals like the color orange for death. Yet, it is ultimately a character driven trilogy. Due to the mixed chronological order of Godfather II, it is a closed frame within the world of the story.

I wanted to focus on a particular scene regarding mise en scene, which would be Vito Corleone’s assassination of Don Fanucci.

Don Fanucci’s death scene utilized many motifs from the original starting from young Vito Corleone’s classic line to Clemenza and Tessio regarding Fanucci that he’ll “make him an offer he don’t refuse” with the imagery of oranges behind him. Oranges are symbolic of death.  Fanucci is juggling an orange when he leaves the cafe going home, there are also oranges when Sollozzo meets Vito in his office, as well as during Don Vito’s assassination attempt and death. Although Vito charms Fanucci enough to get offered a job to work for him, he declines by killing him. Their contrasting suits with Vito wearing black and Fanucci wearing white is telling of the moral ambiguity regarding the Mafia. Fanucci is the villain, yet Vito is the one committing the crime of murder. The Jesus statue covered in money is another representation of the hypocritical values of a Catholic gangster. Love and charity are two important values of Christianity, yet the way of the Mafia is often associated with murder and extortion. As the statue of Jesus is carried throughout the parade, it passes through a number of apples which represent temptation to go after the money.

Michael’s plot to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey in the first film is eerily similar to Vito’s assassination on Fanucci. They both decide to kill their victims in a safe and unsuspecting place. For Michael, the place was a restaurant of Sollozzo and McCluskey’s choosing. In Vito’s case, Fanucci arranges to meet at a dark and secluded cafe. The extremely dark cafe contrasts with the religious festival happening outside. The yellow and brownish tints in the cafe scene demonstrates the use of flashback to remind viewers of Michael in the restaurant. The audience is expecting something to happen, but instead part ways until Fanucci goes to the ultimate safe haven, his own home. Fanucci foreshadows his own death by deeming a puppet show too violent for him while Vito reaching for his hidden gun on a rooftop, just like Michael in the bathroom stall. The fireworks going off as Fanucci is first shot represent a celebration to the death of a villain that is further delved into as Vito walks past a delighted crowd. The final shot of Fanucci’s death is Vito holding baby Michael in his hands telling him he loves him very much. Vito’s words to Michael speak in volumes because of what had already occurred in The Godfather as Vito tells Michael right before he dies

“I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life… I don’t apologize…to take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those big shots. I don’t apologize. That’s my life, but I thought that, that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone. Governor Corleone.”

Vito is referring to a marionette when he refers to the strings which is ironic because although he didn’t intend to Vito acted as the puppet-master by being the Godfather. His decisions and occupations affect others, sequentially affecting Michael’s former pacifist views when he is faced with the corrupt McCluskey.

The contextual elements of The Godfather trilogy from Coppola’s use of mise en scene helped cement the status of these films as timeless classics.

– Andy Lam

Blog Post 5; Gangs of New York

This chapter was on Mise-en-scene and how staging or putting on a action or scene to creating an emotion from the audience. I seen Gangs of New York again for the second time with a focus on the design. The chapter added a small part about this film and how this film overwhelmed the audience with design. The decor of the film was very over the top with the accents and the wardrobe. The set was based in late 1800’s New York at the 5 Points. I believe Scorsese might have done that on purpose to further emphasis the time period and the story line. Some parts of this film is historically correct, for examples the gangs and the political power of Boss Tweed. There is also a scene in the movie where The Butcher has an American flag draped on him to add to his patriotism to America, this showed how the props in the film added to the characters. Costumes and hair styles for instance were very specific because the different gangs in the movie had specific attributes. The character Bill “The Butcher” Cutting wears a top hat and has a very distinct mustache because he belongs to the natives and the Bowery boys. image
There is also a big contrast to what Leonardo DiCaprio character, Amsterdam, wears to what The Butcher wears, his clothes were a lot dirtier and cheaper. The chapter also spoke of music and how it entices a feeling, in this film they played a lot of Irish sounds so that we sympathize with Amsterdam and his background. In this film the Mise-en-scene was more focused on showing the time period and the rivalry between the gangs and how the costumes showed the differences between the two dynamics of the gangs.

-Marcy Rosa

Babel-Post 5


For this blog I chose the movie Babel, a film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. The film shows a series of multiple stories that take place in four different locations: Morocco, Japan, United States and Mexico. After a process of events, the four stories eventually end up connecting with each other forming a mystic environment and images showing the context of their own customs and their way of thinking. In Morocco, a troubled American married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences. Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple’s Mexican nanny takes the couple’s 2 children with her to her son’s wedding in Mexico, only to come into trouble on the return trip.

Reading from this chapter I learned that mise-en-scene (putting into scene) is key to any motion picture and stage play. It is the foundation of the film and a piece that holds everything together. The mise-en-scene deals with the wardrobe, the lighting, the makeup and backdrops for different scenes. In the film Babel I found a great usage of mise-en-scene, since the director shows different setting throughout the movie, each scene has a great depiction of the setting the characters are in. The scenes and lighting of the city of Japan are amazing, they created a sense of depth in the film. Another example is when they were in the Middle East they had the families dressed in the clothes and sandals that they originally wear. Doing this they portrayed their culture and their actual life, which made it more realistic. Another example is the scene where the American tourist gets shot, the director draws our attention by shooting extreme close-ups of the woman which cause a feel of suspense.  

The Notebook – Post 5


The Notebook is a film based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel by the same name. The romantic film is the love story of Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton. Spanning from the 1940’s to the early years of the twenty first century, the film depicts the ongoing love between these two main characters. The film opens up at a nursing home where Duke is reading a love story to a fellow patient. The love story begins in the 1940s where Allie is in South Carolina to spend her summer. Noah meets her at a fair and immediately falls in love with her. It takes allot of persuasion and trickery, but eventually, Noah and Allie start dating. Their love is filled with anger, passion, ignorance, and truthfulness. Despite their mutual love for one another their economic differences creates a barrier for them. Allie comes from a wealthy family while Noah is from a working class family. Finally when Allie has to go back home to New York this puts an end to their relationship.

Noah insistent that his love for Allie will never fade away continues to fulfill all the promises he made Allie. Fast forward seven years Noah is done building the house with the paining room he promised Allie that one summer night.  Allie, who is at this point in time engaged, discovers Noah had built the house and decides to visit him. Their love is rekindled and Allie must now choose between her fiancé and Noah.  To give this movie a happy ending, Allie picks Noah and moves in with him.

Back to present day, the patient who is listening to this love story by Duke remembers that this is not just any love story. Yet this is the love story between her and Duke. Now lucid, the fellow patient remembers she is Allie and the one reading the love story is Noah. They eventually, fall asleep and die together.

The design of the film gives it the authentic 1940s feel for the viewer. The yellowish and auburn color lighting gave the film an old southern feel to it. This is particularly relevant in Allie’s and Noah love scene at the old abandoned plantation. The house by the river is torn down, yet the candles and the lighting in this scene creates an intimate feeling that gives the viewer a sense of the 1940s. Design is key in this film since is constantly moves back and forth between the 1940s and the early 2000s. For example, the clothing between the two time periods changed dramatically and also had to be appropriate for their ages at that time. Noah would wear baggy flannel shirt with dress pants and a hat popular in the 40s in his younger days, whereas Noah in modern day work a sweater vest and larger reading glasses very common on present day elderly folk.

The film was composed in a way where the scenes and setting had a good relationship with the characters. This could be seen when Noah and Allie decide to dance on the open road. While they are dancing, a song from the 1940’s starts to play and one can see the stores around them. This composition gives the viewer a sense that they are in this current time period.