Mise en scène incorporated in both The Shining and Schindler’s List

            Mise en scène embraces the most identifiable qualities of a film, including the actors, lighting, make-up and setting. The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, and Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg, are two films that encompass Mise en scène very clearly. In The Shining, Mise en scène incorporates lighting and human figure placement through nature and location of the Overlook Hotel. Schindler’s List is a film that takes place in Poland during World War II, and although the film is mostly in black and white, there are prominent scenes, which incorporate Mise en scène through setting, human figure placement and lighting. Although very different in plotline and narrative, both The Shining and Schindler’s List share very important qualities in a film through Mise en scène, setting and lighting.

            Throughout The Shining, Mise en scène incorporates setting and lighting along with human figure placement. One of the most prominent scenes that integrate Mise en scène is the very first scene of the film that initially exhibits a beautiful outlook of nature and its peacefulness. As the scene progresses, the music becomes increasingly darker, causing the audience to feel very anxious and uneasy. Although the setting is supposed to resemble peace and serenity, it does the exact opposite and strikes horror and uneasiness. Additionally, as the film progressed the setting of nature becomes even more dangerous as the Overlook Hotel is completely secluded from society, creating an even great feeling of distress. The irony between nature and a feeling of anxiety is exactly what the director expected. The Overlook Hotel is located in the midst of mountains, secluding itself and anyone who resides there as well. This type of setting causes an image to appear as if the characters are such a tiny part of the bigger picture. Although the characters are a major part in the movie, they do not hold the amount of significance as the setting since it provides viewers with a deeper understanding of the film.

            Moreover, along with The Shining, Schindler’s List provides a strong sense of Mise en scène as well. Schindler’s List takes place in the Holocaust and surrounds itself around one human being who saved many. There are many aspects of Schindler’s List that contributed and made it such a strong and influential movie. However, Mise en scène plays a crucial role in the film that causes it to be so powerful. The setting of the film mostly takes place in the concentration camps where countless people were tortured and murdered, creating both a sense of location and a mood that reflects a character’s emotional state of mind. Although the film is set in black and white, there are many techniques in lighting that enhances the meaning of each scene including light coming in from every direction in order to provide the subject with a sense of depth and meaning in the frame of the scene.

            The technique of lighting is very prominent in both The Shining and Schindler’s List as it represents and instills uncertain and unwanted feelings in viewers. The significance behind the lighting in The Shining is crucial in understanding the film. For instance, Danny writes, “redrum” in the color red to symbolize the blood and horror that takes place in the film. As the movie continues, it is revealed that “redrum” spelled backwards is, in fact, “murder”. Like The Shining, Schindler’s List also uses the color red to define death and horror. This type of lighting in both films correlates to the loss of innocence in children. In The Shining, Danny loses his innocence as he obtains supernatural abilities and is able to see and hear the sounds of death. Additionally, a color filter was used in the film to highlight the little girl in the red dress. The lighting in this scene also highlights the girl’s innocence and how the Nazi’s irrepressibly steal it from her. The color filter exhibits the contrast between Oskar Schindler and the girl as the defiant red represents the blood of war. In both films, the color red is very prominent and important as it depicts the color of death and of danger. The lighting in both scenes is very dramatic and very significant as it affects the emotions of viewers to feel what is expected. Ultimately, the lighting and the enhancement of color demonstrate the loss of innocence in children and correlates to the emotions of the audience.


            Mise en scène is the concept of designing a stage in films, in which setting, lighting, props and costumes are able to reveal as much of the story as the acting. Although very different in both genre and topic, The Shining and Schindler’s List share important qualities with setting, lighting and human figure placement. In The Shining, the setting and location of the Overlook Hotel and the danger in nature corresponds to the uncanny feeling of danger that is instilled in viewers. Moreover, throughout Schindler’s List both lighting and setting play important roles in the film. The movie is set in World War II during the Holocaust and much of the movie exhibits what happened in the concentration camps, setting a feeling and a mood for viewers. Although the movie is set in black and white, the lighting in the film focuses on one scene at a time and causes there to be a certain emphasis on specific subjects. Lastly, in both films, lighting plays a crucial role as it demonstrates the art of horror and the significance of the color red. In both The Shining and Schindler’s List, Mise en Scène provides much detail and importance for each and every scene. 





ImageRedrum/Murder- The Shining

ImageThe girl in the red dress- Schindler’s List


College Film and Media Studies 


15 major points on Mise en scène



Chicago 10

There are many themes that took place in the documentary of Chicago 10 but the most significant theme of all was the counter culture during that time period. In the 1960’s, hippies were very popular, especially the ones that called themselves Yippies. Throughout the 1960’s, peace, love, drugs and sex were all values in life that were important to the hippies. They believed in a carefree lifestyle with very little involvement from the government, demonstrating the counter culture that is accurately portrayed by this era through this documentary.

Additionally, the film of Chicago 10 is a postmodern film due to its self-reflective narrative style, which is also considered non-linear narrative as well. The narrative in the film can be considered so due to its sporadic design of skipping through time.  For example, in the beginning of the film, the documentary starts off with original footage and quickly skips to animated scenes about a trial. This technique of postmodern films causes the audience to think outside of the box and try to connect different ideas and notions. This includes viewers thinking about the significance of an animated scene as opposed to an original scene. Postmodern films use these specific techniques that are demonstrated in Chicago 10.

Chicago 10 uses the technique of animation throughout its plotline. This is known as an artistic decision based on the culture and significance of the 60’s. Animation is a use of art and the director chose to depict the time period through his own style. The use of animation was used in the documentary to demonstrate scenes that could not have occurred in the time period. Especially throughout the trial scenes, animation played a key role in developing the plot. 

Paragraph for Inception

Topic #2: There are many reasons as to why Inception is considered a blockbuster by todays standards. One key reason is that fantasy films have become very popular in todays society. Many people enjoy films that intrigue them and cause them to think from many different perspectives. They enjoy films that contain many cliffhangers and interpretations. Inception is a film that is set between reality and fantasy and it is very difficult at times to tell the difference. These different dreams and levels of Inception cause viewers to find insight in each scene and to interpret what they can. However, this can cause viewers to become impatient when trying to find an answer in between all of questions that proceed in every scene. Inception is a film that causes viewers to think instead of just watching. 

Avant-Garde Films

            There are many themes that take place in the avant-garde film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. One of the main themes that took place was the impossible feminine physical ideals since the use of Barbie Dolls played a significant role throughout the film. Barbie Dolls plays the major roles of characters in order to emphasize the desire for women to achieve perfection. In society, Barbie Dolls are normally what is looked for when people refer to the term ‘perfect’ and so the use of them throughout the movie portrays what is evidently wrong with societies views. In the film, Ms. Carpenter dies from anorexia since she thrives to be skinny, believing that doing so will get her closer to “perfection”.

            The avant-garde films of Meshes of the Afternoon and An Andalisuian Dog are both short films that go against narrative conventions since they are both very unclear and tough to follow. Both films do not contain a solid plotline or story and the characters do not have any direct influence on anything important. The scenes are very sporadic and random which confuses viewers as to what is going on and there is almost no room for interpretation since the film is so unclear.

            In the movie, An Andalisian Dog, it is difficult to understand what the point of the movie was since there is not a clear story line. The film does not follow any ‘cause and effects’ plot and the scenes jump from one another without finishing the moral or lesson that could be learned. For instance, there are many scenes that go from one time period to the next, confusing the viewers as they are trying to understand what is going on. There are almost no interactions between the characters and if there are then these relations are very unpredictable. For example, when one of the main characters tries to rape the girl, the scenes jump to them holding hands on along the shore on the beach and it is very unclear as to what happened along the way.


Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is a film that portrays the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin through Pakistan. There are many themes in film that include horror, torture, terrorism, 9/11 and journalism. Torture was a tactic that was used very frequently throughout the film in order to retrieve information from enemies and be able to understand the enemies’ plans. Another theme of Journalism plays a crucial role in the film as it shows the different plans and missions that are recorded. These themes work well together as they both come hand in hand as several scenes of torture are recorded for journalism.

The director of the film, Kathryn Bigelow, creates artistic elements that are portrayed throughout the movie as they stand out, characterizing her as a auteur. Kathryn Bigelow uses film art, differences in personalities and technical proficiency to prove herself as an auteur. Bigelow uses Journalism as a major theme in the film and as a way to demonstrate the horror and torture that went on during those times. Her use of journalism aided her performance in the movie as it not only demonstrated what events had occurred, but also her artistic ways as a director.

There are many people who thought the movie illustrated the point that torture works in the real world but that is not the case. Although the film, Zero Dark Thirty, portrays that torture was used to retrieve information does not mean that it is the right form or way to get information when needed. This is a controversial topic in the real world since the CIA would generally use forms of torture in order to gather information on the location of Osama Bin Ladin. This film introduces many forms of torture and why it worked in those situations but that is no reason for it to work in everyday circumstances. 



The movie, Weekend, is a film that demonstrates pure violence and utter chaos. The film is filled with many murder contemplations and car accidents such as the scenes when they are travelling to Corinne’s dad’s house. The many car accidents become extensive throughout the movie, which affects the audience’s emotions and causes there to be a certain level of uncertainty and horror. The dead bodies everywhere and the violence that occurs to both humans and animals are other aspects of the film that affects the emotions and thought process of the audience.


            Normally, a typical movie consists of a plot line and moral to the story that the movie is trying to convey. Unlike normal movies, Weekend lacks a lot of clarity and/ or plot line in general. Characters do not have a purpose and the whole movie is basically a big sarcastic joke playing on Hollywood films. A film activist, Godard, decided to produce a film that goes against the norm as he fills the movie in unnecessary violence, inappropriate music and sound design along with unrealistic events. This quality in the movie plays a significant role on viewer’s emotions and catches the audience off guard as they begin to realize the basis of the movie is not something that is normally portrayed in other films they might be used to.


            In the film, Weekend, Godard makes a point that he is going against societies norm by producing such a film with inappropriate use of sound and music. Godard rejects the normal way a Hollywood film would ingrain sound or music in a scene. Instead, he uses unsuitable music/sound design in his scenes that do not, in any way, correlate to the scene itself. For instance, when Corrinne describes her experiences and memories with Paul and Monique, the music and sound design are very loud and distracting to viewers since it has no correlation to the scene itself and makes it difficult for viewers to listen to what Corinne has to say. By doing so, Godard is able to go against the norm and prove to society that not all movies have to be the same.

Far From Heaven

            Throughout the film, Far From Heaven, the main theme is the notion of white supremacy. During the time period in which this movie was made, human beings were being discriminated against for being different colors and/or races. In the film, Raymond and his daughter are treated very unfairly and disrespectfully based on the color of their skin. The unequal actions that are portrayed in the film demonstrate what society used to be and how different people were treated. The notion that whites were superior to blacks plays a major role in the movie as many people would think it was right to treat other people disrespectfully and did not know the difference between right and wrong.

            The idea of Ideology plays a significant role in the film as it is portrayed through narratives and varying symbols. Being homosexual during that period in time was something very unnatural and something “to be ashamed of.” People did not realize that it was not a choice to be gay and so they discriminated against homosexuals such as Frank Whitaker. Their actions is what is known as heterosexism and the film represents specific actions that are taken in order to discriminate against homosexuals.

            Race and class are two inter-related ideologies that take place throughout the film, Far From Heaven. In the film, people would discriminate against black people just because the color of their skin. For example, when Raymond and his daughter attended an art show, it was extremely obvious that they were not welcome simply because of their race. The white supremacy was depicted in this scene as well since people thought just because they are white it was okay to discriminate against the blacks and obtain a higher class. However, when Raymond demonstrates his intelligence it is shown that he is a well educated man who is more familiar with art than many of the other people who attended the art show. During this point in time, it was assumed by society that African Americans were unintelligent and of lower class simply because of their race but that was clearly not the case with some, such as Raymond who depicted his knowledge and intelligence and proved that all African Americans are just as capable as any other person.  


There are many significant themes that take place in the film, Casablanca. The most important theme is intervention vs. isolation. In the film, Victor Lazlo’s character represents intervention as he has been battling against the Nazi influence ever since World War II began. Lazlo is unafraid of fighting back when he believes that he is being treated unfairly. However, unlike Lazlo, Rick’s character represents isolationism since he does not want to get involved with anything that has to do with WWII yet he seems to always be in the middle of the situations. Rick plays it off as if he doesn’t care what happens to his bar and in the world. He decides to pretend as if nothings wrong and not fight back. There are many differences between Lazlo and Rick and this represents the different themes that are portrayed throughout the film.


            The ability to contain so many genres in one film is what makes Casablanca such an interesting and entertaining movie. The movie contains so many different genres including, action, romance, crime and even western. There can be at least 3 different genres that take place in the film in only one scene. For instance, when Isla tries to convince Rick to give her the letters of transit, the scene starts with drama and continues on into romance and suddenly into action when she takes out the gun and points it at Rick. This change in genre keeps the audience on their toes since the scenes are so unexpected. The genre change in Casablanca is what entertains viewers and what makes the movie so unique.


            In the film, Casablanca, there are many scenes in which different genres take place and this is what makes the movie so interesting. The genre change causes the audience to pay careful attention to each and every scene since it is unclear and unknown what can happen next. Scenes vary from action to drama to romance and the audience gets thrown off since it is unlike any other film which only contains one genre. Normally, genres create limits for an audience in the sense that they have a general understanding of what the movie will be about. However, in Casablanca there are no borders by which this is done which leaves an endless amount of change and alterations to occur throughout the film.

Apocalypse Now- Blog Post 6

There are many significant themes that take place in Apocalypse Now. One very important theme that is portrayed throughout the whole movie is Irrationality vs. Rationality between the characters. For instance, Captain Willard’s persona is very different than the first impression people had of him. Initially, Willard seems very bizarre and a bit “off the edge”. However, as the movie progresses, Captain Willard become more rational minded. When capturing Colonel Kutz, it seems as if irrationality has won the battle until Willard kills Kilgore and ultimately proves that rationality will strive at the end of the day.

Throughout the film, there were very precise and accurate moments when sound took over a scene and changed the mood of the audience based on what music was playing. For example, during dramatic scenes, the music would slow down and draw the attention of viewers. As the music gets quieter and quieter, there is more attention on the scene and what is actually going on in the movie. When there were scenes of war, there was also war music that went along with it so that it seemed very realistic and the music was able to wound the crowd in and cause them to get entailed in the movie. 

The dialogue and sound effects that are present in Apocalypse Now help viewers get more entailed in the movie as it grasps the attention and is able to shift moods of people who are watching. Dialogue in the film essentially introduces the characters and their personalities in a very unique way. For example, there is a difference from the way Colonel Kilgore commands his officers, in a very lighthearted yet tough way and the way Colonel Kurz commands his officers, in a very demanding act. This dialogue helps convey the personality of Kilgore vs. the personality of Kurz. Additionally, sound effects play a very significant role in the film as well. For instance, at the conclusion of the film there is a very quiet and soothing sound that is playing in the background while Willard is tortured. The sound effects increasingly grow and become louder as the scene continues and Kurz is murdered. These sound effects really wrap the audience around the scene, causing their emotions to come out once the scene is over. 

Psycho- Blog Post 5

            In the film Psycho, the technique of a MacGuffin is used throughout the whole movie. A MacGuffin is a method that is used in movies that provides continuity to the plot of a film which remains mainly unconnected to the whole storyline. There are many instances in which a MacGuffin is used in Psycho. One of these examples would be when Marion stole approximately forty thousand dollars, which seemed like a big deal at the time but at the conclusion of the film, it was almost irrelevant. This technique was probably used to demonstrate a lot of drama that takes place while viewers are watching the movie. The fact that Marion had stolen all of this money was not important to her character or the storyline of the film and that is why the importance of this scene only took place in the beginning of the film and not the end.

            In Psycho, there are many unique editing techniques that are used in order to enhance suspense and excitement for viewers. One of these famous techniques is used in the shower scene in which many shots are being filmed from many different angles. The scene begins with Marion screaming as there are so many fast paced and unclear cuts made in that scene. Afterwards, the scene cuts to the water flowing down the faucet and into the drain. These editing decisions instills horror and confusion for viewers, as they are utterly shocked at what happened. Another famous scene in which editing plays a key role in is when Abrogast falls down the stairs and is killed. This all takes place at such a slow pace, which allows the audience to really get into the scene and the uneasy mood that is expected. These editing techniques play on the viewer’s emotions and cause the audience to remain in a state of suspense throughout the whole movie. 

            The director of Psycho, Hitchcock, kills the protagonist at the start of the film simply because he wanted to demonstrate something new, something that not many directors do in films and wanted to prove that he thinks “outside of the box”. Hitchcock uses a technique that was very uncommon at the time in which the main character of the film was killed. This instilled even more fear and horror for viewers since they have initially followed the storyline of Marion and suddenly she was gone. Ultimately, Marion is murdered in her shower and the movie stems into a different plotline of a different character. This decision made on behalf of Hitchcock exhibited that he wanted to do something unusual and form a new notion of shock in viewers.