How Do You Write A Mise-En-Scène? The Basics – With Examples

what does Mise-en-scéne mean?

Lets have a quick look into Mise-En-Scène

Mise-en-Scéne is a concept in filmmaking that makes it easier for the viewers to get the intricacy of a scene. To translate the word Mise-en-scéne, it literally means placement; that is what mise-en-scéne is; the set of each and every aspect of movie-making.

The 9 basic concepts of Mise-en-scéne are:

  1. Set Design 
  2. Lighting 
  3. Space
  4. Composition 
  5. Costume 
  6. Makeup and Hairstyle
  7. Acting
  8. Filmstock
  9. Aspect Ratio

Although this might seem to be a tricky concept, citing an example from a movie can make it a bit easier. 

Let’s take an example of the 2014 Bollywood Drama movie. Let’s first get the summary of the movie. A bright student, Haider comes back to his hometown in Kashmir after he learns his father involvement in giving treatment and shelter to a few terrorists. On returning to his hometown, he eventually knows about his mother’s and uncle’s affair and involvement in his father’s captivity. By the end, with his tremendous efforts, and after losing everything, he gets his revenge on his uncle. 

Now that we are done with a brief summary of the movie let’s talk about Mise-en-Scéne.

Look at the two pictures above. The former is Haider’s arrival to his hometown after learning about his father’s captivity. The latter is after Haider learns about his mother’s and uncle’s involvement in his father’s death. 

Let’s cite all the above fundamental concepts of Mise-en-scéne concerning the two pictures above. 

 In the first picture, Haider is seen on a bus with eyes filled up with sorrow. He has a neatly shaped haircut, and a beard wears a nice jacket. His look seems to suggest that he takes care of himself. Whereas in the second picture, his eyes are full of hatred and disgust. With a disheveled appearance and a bruised face, he wraps a shawl around his body. This seems to suggest that Haider is no longer concerned about his appearance. 

In the first picture, we can see a blue undertone that might have been used to give away the aura that Haider is surrounded by; Sadness. However, in the second picture, we can clearly see a green undertone which seems to suggest the feeling of Disgust. 

As seen in the former picture, the moving bus filled up with people seems to depict Haider non-stop trail of numerous thoughts and emotions. However, looking closely at the latter, you can notice fewer elements in a small room. This might have been used to depict Haider’s stagnant mind with filled with nothing but vengeance. 

Also, referring to the two scenes above, you can notice Haider’s clothes syncing with the surrounding in the former. His clothes match with the bus, the military uniform as well as environment. However, referring to the latter, Haider’s clothes are clash with his surroundings. Dressed in all black, his clothes do not match the white snow or others dressed in relatively neutral tones.

Mise-en-Scéne is a tool that has helped filmmakers since forever. It is a crucial aspect of filmmaking that enhances the movie to create perfection.

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