It is known that the French term mise-en-scene is widely used in cinematography and film interpretation. The elements of mise-en-scene help to direct the viewers’ understanding of the film and contribute to the symptomatic, referential, explicit and implicit meanings that can be derived from the film. According to Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, “mise-en-scene refers to those elements of a movie scene that are put in position before the filming actually begins and employed in certain ways once it does begin”ť (64). It means that all elements visible onscreen are the elements of mise-en-scene, including settings and sets, which help to establish the so-called scenic realism, props, actors, light and costumes, which help to reveal the most important ideas of the film. Each of the above mentioned elements of mise-en-scene contributes to the viewers’ understanding of the film.
The settings and sets are the most important elements of mise-en-scene. As a rule, the setting represents a fictional or real place where the action occurs in the film, while the set is, a so-called constructed setting that is supervised by set designers in order to draw out some significant details and “create connections and contrasts across the different places in the film”ť (Corrigan & White 70). Props are widely used to express character’s feelings, their emotions and thoughts, their desires, powers and abilities. In the majority of cases, props are used to reveal the major themes of the film. Special attention is paid to the role of actors in the film. The actors’ performance includes not only physical expression and the use of language, but also the actors’ gestures and body language that help to communicate the most important information about the plot of the film to the audience. The actors’ performance is focused on the actors’ voice, their body movement and, of course, eye contact which plays a key role in the viewers’ understanding of the film. Although there are different types of actors (leading actors, supporting actors), they should be portrayed in a proper way. In this case, it is necessary to mention the significance of costumes and make up. Costumes help to define the character and create the appropriate visual impression, while make-up helps to complete the character’s image highlighting or distorting certain aspects of the actor’s face and body. In accordance with Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, “costumes and make up support scenic realism”ť, reproducing the clothes and facial expression of people living in this or that time and place (77). One more important element of mise-en-scĂ¨ne is lighting, which allows the audience not only to observe the actions of the characters, but also to better understand the setting in which this or that action takes place and draw the viewers’ attention to the props, costumes, and actors’ performance in the mise-en-scĂ¨ne. Lighting helps to evoke feelings and emotions in the audience. In addition, lighting as a key element of cinematography helps to shade or accentuate the objects and figures of the mise-en-scĂ¨ne. The above mentioned elements provide both the explicit and implicit meanings derived from the film, as the viewers are directed in their understanding of the film. To sum up, the major elements of mise-en-scene help to better understand the major themes of the film, and identify the role of characters, their feelings, emotions and thoughts.
The strategic use of cinematography helps to create a fuller development of characters, including their psychologies, and the way they relate to other characters and their place in the overall Diegesis. Cinematography, which stands for a motion-picture photography, composes the individual images of the film in order to effectively communicate their ideas, feelings, thoughts, etc. The elements of cinematography, such as shot, points of view are of great importance as they “offer a remarkable range of options for creating, representing, and understanding a cinematic point of view: from framing and depth through movement and color”ť (Corrigan & White 105). It means that cinematography helps the viewers to better understand the major ideas of the film, reveal the behaviors of actors and their personal characteristics. Moreover, points of view (both subjective and objective), that represent the positions from which a person or an object can be seen, help to develop the characters in the film. It is known that all shots have their point of view. In addition, there are four important attributes of shot, such as framing, depth of field, color and movement, each of which has an enormous impact on the effectiveness of camera work. The strategic use of cinematography including the use of color and contrast in the film through different innovative methods, animation and different visual effects, effective camera work, and etc. help to evaluate the actions, behavior, feelings and emotions of the characters in this or that film. For example, dark low-angle shot can be used to portray a dangerous criminal, while a close-up shot of a mother can be used to emphasize her anguish of body and mind, her sorrow and pain. To sum up, the strategic use of cinematography creates a fuller development of characters, including their psychologies, and their relationships with other characters.