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Choose a scene from one of the movies we have watched or will be watching, or a movie of your choice (subject to my approval), and analyze the elements of the scene’s mis-en-scene. If you choose to do one of the movies we have, or will have, taken up in class, you may not analyze the mis-en-scene of a scene which we have taken up. If you choose to do a movie other than the ones we have already seen in class – whether one of your own choosing, or one of the movies w will be watching later in the course YOU MUST CHECK WITH ME FIRST – as to which movie you will be doing, and which scene from it. (I need to have seen the movie in question in order to be able to grade the assignment). You might, for instance, choose to do a scene from your favourite movie (although once again, be sure to check first before proceeding to be sure I have seen the movie).

IMPORTANT: Your analysis should engage with the ways in which the mis-en-scene contributes to the over-all effect of the scene, and/or to the over-all narrative, themes, concerns and effect(s) of the movie. You must also be sure to set the scene in your analysis – you must begin your analysis with a short description of how the scene in question fits into the movie. Also, be sure to concentrate on the mis-en-scene of the scene, not on aspects of cinematography and editing (these are for later assignments).

But furthermore: not all of the elements of mis-en-scene which can be analyzed may be present in a significant way which contributes to the effect of the scene which you choose to analyze. If so, however, be sure to note that they are missing… and you might perhaps want to analyze, or consider, why.


You may present the material of the assignment in the form of an essay on the mis-en-scene of the scene. Or, you may choose to present your analysis in point form. Which either way you present it, be sure – as I say above – that your analysis links aspects of the scene’s mis-en-scene to the over-all effect of the scene, and/or to the over-all narrative, themes, concerns and effect(s) of the movie. You might also think about including a “rough draft” of your analysis when you hand it in – one in which you list, using the terms below, aspects of the mis-en-scene with which you deal with in your analysis; this “rough draft,” however, will not count towards the 4 typed pages which the assignment requires.


The format of the paper you hand in is MLA; no secondary sources are allowed. All you need to accomplish this assignment is the scene in question, the terms from the textbook, your understanding of them, your eyes, and your imagination.

You may choose to include stills from the scene into your analysis, if you are able – although it is not necessary, and stills which you include will not count towards fulfilling the assignment’s length requirements.

Terms for Mis-en-Scene Analysis

-- for more on these terms, and on mis-en-scene in general, see the textbook, Chapter 4, “The Shot: Mis-en-Scene,” 111-158

Basic Components of Mis-en-Scene

1. Setting

2. Lighting

3. Costume and Make-up

4. Staging and Movement and Performance

1. Setting

Location or Locations

Set or Sets


2. Lighting

Highlights vs. Shadows

Quality of Light – Hard vs. Soft

Direction of Light





Key light and fill light

Three point lighting

High key lighting vs.

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