By PV PHANI SRIVATSA
WHAT IS MISE - EN - SCENE?
Sripada Studios get you a brief on the film’s influence and explains mise-en-scene with Indian films and specifications.
By PHANI SRIVATSA
“Visuals can be deceiving”
The tagline from the film Drishyam [ Malayalam ] explains how a visual can be viewed from various perspectives and can create an illusion. The movie did the same ‘abracadabra trick’. Even after watching the film, you may feel like the smartest Geroge Kutty and you become extra smart in your own situations acting like him. But, to make you feel like George Kutty, just the actor and his dialogues won’t be enough. You are influenced by something more. And that more is Mise – En – Scene.
What is Mise – En – Scene?
Mise en scene is the term referring to describe the setting of a scene that is placed in front of the camera or can be seen in the camera. This includes various components which are everything in cinema that can contribute to the visual remembrance.
The Gandhinagar of KFI [ Kannada Film industry ] refers to this as “The texture or look or feel-u of the film”
In the early 1950s, film critics and the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema started to use the term ‘Mise en scene’ while reviewing the films. The filmmakers were in a confused state to concede the term as there wasn’t a singular definition as it was subjective in manner. Even after many years, film technology started evolving and became exceptional. The editing lost its significance as shooting and music became more challenging and editing became simple. Filmmakers started using mise en scene in their shots and thus long takes became fashionable.
What are the Mise – En – Scene components?
The ten components may influence the audience without their consciousness.
- Set Design
- Shot blocking and camera placement
- Depth of Space
- Film Stock
- Hair & Makeup
Yes, the first component which can visually impact is actors. Remember, the scene from the Hindi movie Gully Boy? The protagonist falls into the trap of a job and sits alone in the car and writes his first rap. This scene is stolen by Ranveer Singh because we feel Murad [ the character ] and his hunger for passion.
This component creates the mood and supports the action. This location from the Kannada film ‘Apthamitra’ plays an important role. The story revolves around the building. For any horror movie, the location is crucial which creates fear in the minds of the audience.
Enhancing the location with the help of properties sets the mood of the scene and helps the audience to understand the locality of a character. Here is the best example from the Hindi movie ‘Guzaarish’. The entire film has the influence of
Portugal architecture and Goan culture. Every frame is filled with a lot of elements.
This aspect is a tool for mood setting. Technical terms like high-key lighting can be used for musicals and romantic comedies to minimize the shadows. With that, there is even low-key lighting, contrast lighting, and many more. Here is a backlighting example that defines the dark life of the character Savithri from the Telugu movie ‘Mahanati’.
SHOT BLOCKING & CAMERA PLACEMENTS
The position, gestures, movements of the characters should go hand in hand. In films, the blocking even includes camera placements & movements. This enhances the acting, set design, lighting, and many more aspects. In the Tamil film Madrasapattinam, this particular scene shows the distance between the upper and lower class through camera placements.
The selection of frames and camera angles to make a shot perfect is a composition. Without this, any theme or concept may lack communication or convey the meaning of the scene & dialogues. The Kannada movie ‘KGF Chapter 1’ gives the best example through its climax. The audience waits for Garuda to be stopped by Rocky Bhai, and it happens through this iconic shot.
DEPTH OF SPACE
The space between the actors, juniors, props, scenery creates a relationship between one another and the camera. This is more like shot blocking but creates shallow or deep depth to capture the narrative effectively. For example, in the Malayalam movie Charlie. The protagonist’s curious eyes are one of the major factors and many times closeups worked here effectively.
Refers to the color grading or digital intermediate color processing to set the palette and appearance. A little grain or even a black & white changes the script like it did in the Kannada film, Lucia. The reality was in black & white, and the flashback is color.
This isn’t just a piece of cloth on actors but also helps to understand the character styling, his/her personality, time period, and mood of the film. The Hindi film Lagaan did that, even for a junior artist as it was a periodic cinema.
HAIR & MAKEUP
Not just giving a wig to wear but also the prosthetics, blood, aging is essential in the storytelling. The film ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ from Tamil is the best example which has modern, historical, and traditional hair & makeup styling.
We hope this article helped you to understand the term Mise en scene. To read more about films, social media, and studio setups subscribe to our mailing list and youtube channel. Give a like and share on our social media.
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