- Mise-en-scene. Consider how the elements of the mise-en-scène of a movie contribute to its meaning. For example, the mise-en-scene in a 4 minute clip of Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby – Baz Luhrman’s party scene in The Great Gatsby – is given a thorough analysis in this 6.5 minute clip:Great Gatsbyparty scene analysisFor your exercise, watch the following parlor scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho in which Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) talk while Marion eats a sandwich. In the scene, they discuss the respective “private traps” in their lives.
–> Watch and take notes on how the mise-en-scène elements contribute to this scene’s meaning. For instance: in terms of theme: how is the dialogue of entrapment reflected in various elements of the mise-en-scène, including objects in the room and how they work with entrapment? What other elementsreinforce the theme?
2. Extended tracking shot. Choose two of the following film clips with an extended tracking shot.
Discuss how these shots work to establish or reinforce meaning in the scene. Examples:
a. the ending of Truffaut’s, The 400 BlowsTruffaut’s The 400 Blows
b. the Big Wheel scene from Kubrick’s, The Shining.
Kubrick’s The Shining,
c. the opening credit sequence from Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.
- Film noir contains dark settings, cynicism, and an emphasis on the seamy side of human nature and crime, as well as an alienated and tough protagonist. Watch what is known as the “horse racing” dialogue in Howard Hawks’ film, The Big Sleep.The Big Sleep (1946)
In The Big Sleep, Humphrey Bogart’s hard-boiled hero, Phillip Marlowe, suddenly turns from friendly sexual innuendo to interrogating detective. Locate, describe, and discuss moments in the dialogue that embody the seamy or cynical elements of film noir.
- Soundtrack. Consider how non-diegetic music contributes to meaning by examining the same music, in this case Barber’s Adagio for Strings, in two different films. What kind of effect does the song have in each scene? Compare these two examples
a) the ending of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man
b) during the death of the character Sgt. Elias in Platoon.
(warning: gunfight violence, disturbing images)
Oliver Stone’s Platoon
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