Mise en Scene

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
*Part 2 of the film documentation series, in accordance with the film lead-up...*

Submitted: April 20, 2016

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Submitted: April 20, 2016




Element of Mise en Scene

its Meaning

1) The Dominant: Where is our eye attracted to first, and why?  What is causing the dominance or emphasis (size? color? lighting? color?)?


(hint: typically, the dominant subject in the screen is seen as most important)


The meaning of the image below, detailed in Frame A, Mad Max, shows Furiosa beating Max with a shotgun. Our eye is drawn to Furiosa, as she is seen on top, dominant as a female, and significantly stronger-looking than Max. Both of them are dressed in relatively dark clothing, although more lighting is on Furiosa as she is on top, and therefore it appears as if Furiosa is wearing brighter clothes.

2) Lighting: What is the lighting key? Is it high key, low key, or high contrast?  Are there a lot of shadows? Is the light soft or harsh?  


(what mood does the lighting convey? is it symbolic?)


The lighting key is that Furiosa is viewed in greater light, granted that it is daytime wherever the scene takes place in the world, and appears relatively low-key. As it is daytime, there isn’t a harsh contrast, although the lighting does bear down upon the viewer.

3) Shot Type: Is it a close-up, extreme close-up, medium shot, wide shot, long shot/establishing shot, etc… ? Why? What effect does it have?


(Close-ups are more intimate, long shots tend to make the actors look small. It could convey distance or it it may be used simply as a way to establish context of the scene)


A medium shot, so as to get the full fight within the frame and achieve maximum rage effect for the battle taking place between Furiosa & company versus Max/Nux Duo.

4) Camera Angle: High, low, eye-level, Dutch/oblique/canted, or birdseye?  What does the angle express about the scene or the characters’ relationship? Dominating? Intimate? Small? submissive? trapped? Psychic tension? Alienation?  


(camera angles tend to convey relationship dynamics--who is dominating whom?  is the angle high? is it low? is it eye-level?

eye-level conveys an equal power dynamic, for example)


Good eye-level all around, both for viewer and actors on screen, and allows us to be thrust directly into the action. Pretty dominate on all sides, since it only opposes the actors, and not the viewers themselves, making you feel involved and interactive, ready to watch some more 91/100 movie time.  

5) Color:  Is the color bright or dull? Is it warm (reds, oranges, yellows) or cool (blues and greens)? Is it neutral (greys and browns) or contrasty? What effect does the color have? Is it symbolic? Are there contrasting foils (contrasting characters)?


(What does the color express? Is it symbolic? How does it create meaning? In Run Lola Run, Lola’s hair is red, matching the red color of the ambulance, which she runs next to--both Lola and the ambulance run against time and have a sense of urgency)


Dull with the clothing, and and bright around the entire background frame; they out there in the desert, and they are like, ‘lace me up, homeslice,” with their suave looks and grins and shot-twenty up-rame towards-the-corner, multi-level, memery-king-size fun that allows for a quality scene to be constructed.

6) Lens: Is it a wide angle lens (everything in focus / illusion of depth) or is it a telephoto lense (brings subjects closer but diminishes sense of depth, shallow depth of field)?


Everything within the shot is relatively in focus, with a slightly accentuated detail on the fight happening before our eyes; the one of Furiosa and Max; in the background, the truck is slightly out of focus, with the women in the back looking on helplessly.

7) Subsidiary contrasts: After taking in the dominant, where does the eye go next? What are the other main objects in the shot besides the dominant?


The truck is the next main object we see within the shot. In reality, the truck is larger than either of the two actors. However, as we see within the shot, the truck and the fight seem to be about proportional, indicating to us that the presence of both should be seen as equaly important.

8) Density: How much visual information is packed into the image? Is the texture stark, moderate, or highly detailed?


The moderate detail present creates a nice shade overall that allows the audience to take it in without taking too much, or too little.

9) Composition: How is the two-dimensional space segmented and organized? What is the underlying design?


Characters are presented to the left, with the supporters and the truck to the right; in the center, we see the long stretch of empty land.

10) Form: Is the form open or closed? Does the image suggest a window that arbitrarily isolates a fragment of the scene? Or a stage of a theater, in which the visual elements are carefully arranged and held in balance? Is it more realistic or more staged?


(You can skip this one)


11) Framing: Is the framing tight, loose, or moderate (how much room does the character have to move around?)?


Tight, as the two main characters are presented in a top-down-under design and detail, which, again, puts accentuation on them and forces the camera, and simultaneously the actors, to stay within the boundary of the shot.

12) Depth of Field: is the focus shallow or deep? Is everything in focus or is the background blurred?


Relatively everything is in focus; perhaps a slightly stronger accentuation on Furiosa & Max as they fight than anything else.

13) Character Placement: What part of the framed space do the characters occupy? Center? Top? Bottom? Edges? Why?


Edges, so we realize exactly where the characters are at the time compared to the vast, expanding desert that is Fury Road.

14) Staging positions:  Which way do the characters look vis-a-vis the camera? Full-front, three-quarters, profile, or back to camera? What does this imply?


Profile, as it feels like we are practically being thrown into the fight and get the wonderful first-hand perspective of it so as to feel immersed. Which is one element, among many, that makes this a great movie. However, a lot of what is seen is subconscious, so that should be noted too.

15) Character Proximity: How much space is there between the characters?


Between Furiosa and Max, not that much, granted that they need to be within arms’ length to swing punches and kicks. However, the rest of the supporters are in careful distance away from this fight; especially since one of them is preggers, it is probably best to stay away from conflict.

© Copyright 2018 Dan Zuniga. All rights reserved.

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