Mise-en-scène —Construction of Reality

Mis-en-scene— Origin
French, literally ‘putting on stage’.

It is impossible to perform a football match, gather thousands of spectators including the playing team members, referees, coaches, substitutes, media staff, security guards… etc without a Stadium. Similar to this, a film actually cannot be started unless things are set down in a certain way which is called a mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene contains the spectacular elements of a film including actors, stage, lightings, make ups, setting itself, décor designs, the acting of the actors and so on. Even outside of the films, our surroundings and the environment we live in functions like mis-en-scene.

The unique and mesmerizing architecture of the buildings in the city center also can be considered a part of public mise-en-scene we live in. which literally could be explained for the audiences as an existing world out there without us. Where also, how a person arranges and decorates a room could be called a private mis-en-scene.

Mis-en-scene is a remarkable aspect in the films where shots and scenes would not interoperate the same feeling without it, for instance “the functional costuming all individuals done as part of inhabiting a particular mise-en-scène: businessmen wear suits, clergy dress in black, and service people in fast-food restaurants wear uniforms with company logos” (64). Way before technology became advanced as today, movies had many limitations in terms of presenting the story in away more familiar with the audiences where it was not easy to obtain and maintain the requirements of setting for some scenes. Where today its possible to accomplish such films, thanks for the advanced Computer-Generated Imaginations (CGI), in one room studios.

What is CGI ? click here for further examples.

Furthermore, if we breakdowns the mise-en-scene and go into little details one of the most fundamental features of mise-en-scène is the setting including the real or the fictional place of where the film takes place. Its elements can be constructed or natural. When later feature-length films became the norm, constructed sets and actors in well-designed costumes introduced filmic mise-en-scene.

The realism of the mise-en-scene also on the other hand can be more real than real for instance “Realistic mise-en-scene was central to many of the new cinema movements of the 1970s that critiqued established studio styles” (69) by re-creating the reality in more astonishing way in a fantastic mise-en-scene or sometimes simulating it and presenting mere simulacrum moving images, only the copy of their original ones.

Props, costumes and actors as well accompany the designing and shaping the mise-en-scene of a specific film. Props would alert a feeling that they are associated with a character and have special meaning in his/her role, the light-saber in Star Wars can be a remarkable example. Where in order to bring a character into a life the acting performance and his/her talent also playing a significant role to show gestures and physical expressions where the actor/actress reflect their embodied character as Anakin sky walker acts as the good guy of the Jedi of the power and then becomes the devil guy, Darth Vader, right after he got seduced into the dark side.


And finally, In addition to acting and props, the “[Way] actors are costumed and made up can play a central part in a film”. By enlightening with our previous example from Star Wars film, Jedi’s are costumed with white clothes and blue light-sabers representing the trust, innocent, loyalty and honest to serve for the empire where on the other hand the antagonists are costumed with black and dark uniforms to reflect their inner cruelty, stolen innocent, evil etc.


Above cited quotes could be referenced to Timothy Corrigan & Patricia White. The Film Experience. NY: Bedford St. Martin’s. 

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Mohamed (Azhari)

Wixii la qoraa quruumo haree, hadal muxuu qiimo leeyahay!!

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