Mise En Scene –
Definition in film studies
When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. The “mise-en-scène”, along with the cinematography and editing of a film, influence the verisimilitude or believability of a film in the eyes of its viewers. The various elements of design help express a film’s vision by generating a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood, and sometimes suggesting a character’s state of mind. “Mise-en-scène” also includes the composition, which consists of the positioning and movement of actors, as well as objects, in the shot. These are all the areas overseen by the director. One of the most important people that collaborates with the director is the production designer. These two work closely to perfect all of the aspects of the “mise-en-scène” a considerable amount of time before the actual photography even begins. The production designer is generally responsible for the general look of the movie, leading various departments that are in charge of individual sets, locations, props, and costumes, among other things. Andre Bazin, a well-known French film critic and film theorist, describes the mise-en-sceneaesthetic as emphasizing choreographed movement within the scene rather than through editing.
Mise en scène encompasses the most recognizable attributes of a film – the setting and the actors; it includes costumes and make-up, props, and all the other natural and artificial details that characterize the spaces filmed. The term is borrowed from a French theatrical expression, meaning roughly “put into the scene”. In other words, mise-en-scène describes the stuff in the frame and the way it is shown and arranged. We have organized this page according to four general areas: setting, lighting, costume and staging. At the end we have also included some special effects that are closely related to mise-en-scène.
The arrangement of everything that appears in the framing – actors, lighting, décor, props, costume – is called mise-en-scène, a French term that means “placing on stage.” The frame and camerawork are also considered part of the mise-en-scène of a movie. In cinema, placing on the stage really means placing on the screen, and the director is in charge of deciding what goes where, when, and how.David A. Cook, in his book A History of Narrative Film, points out how a mise-en-scène is formed by all the elements that appear “within the shot itself, as opposed to the effects created by cutting.” In other words, if it’s on the screen and if it’s a physical object recorded by the camera, then it’s part of the mise-en-scène.