Part of Lesson Plan: Les Frères Lumière Court-métrage
Activity Overview / Details
All the things that are "put in the scene": the setting, the decor, the lighting, the costumes, the performance etc. Narrative films often manipulate the elements of mise-en-scene, such as decor, costume, and acting to intensify or undermine the ostensible significance of a particular scene.
Mise-en-Scène: Slow Down, Don't Be in Such a Hurry!
All of film dialectics recall the initial division between the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès: the Lumière brothers were the realists; Méliès was the expressionist. The Lumières favored mise-en-scène, Méliès montage . To this day, a belief in pure mise-en-scène has been associated with realism while montage has been the tool favored by expressionists. There are great filmmakers on either side of the debate. See the next activity and below for the resource Georges Méliès - A Trip to the Moon (1902) as the example the expressionist style.
Montage: The Whole Is More Than the Sum of the Parts
Real life happens as mise-en-scène. You can’t edit real life. But you can edit film: you can put this image next to that image, one shot opposed to another. You can move from one sequence to another far removed in time and space, with the simple effectiveness of a razor blade and some glue (or their infinitely easier electronic equivalents).
Play the video: Mise-en-Scène Montage Mashup to get the students oriented.
ASK: Does anyone remember a scene from a movie or show that had a particularly strong mise en scene?
Split the class into groups of 3 or 4 and assign one Section to each group from the document: Mise-en-Scène Overview and Examples.
Have groups provide a synopsis of their section. If possible and time permits, have them find a clip from a movie that they remember online that demonstrates the mise-en-scène principle they are assigned. If not, display the movie images included in the document.
Assignment: Students turn in at least two examples of a scene or image from a film they like that depicts mise en sce`ne. Have the students indicate in the scene or image what principles of mise en sce`ne are depicted in the scene (i.e., decor, lighting, acting, costume, etc.).