Looking at Mise-en-scéne
The Blind Side
Looking at everything onscreen and noticing why John Lee Hancock placed it in the way he did. What does he want the viewer to see and take away from the film? What is the purpose and how does it change the meanings? Themes in the film are black & white and wealth & poverty.
Mise-en-scéne, a French term used to describe the “placement in a scene” or “onstage” of everything that the viewer of the film visibly sees. Including but not limited to: actors, lighting, sets and settings, props, costumes, and make-up. Everything that is onstage in the scene was placed in a specific way before filming even begins. This is all because the director of the film wants to portray an issue or theme of the film to the viewer through the use of everything we see onscreen.
Just like in our surroundings, the use of the buildings, landscape, and infrastructure will show us the theme/issue we are seeing/in. Whether it is tall buildings with a lot of taxis on the roads and sculptural landscapes placed on the sidewalks that can support the fact that we are in the city. Where if we were in a home subdivision, we would see a curving road infrastructure and many homes with small front yards with green grass and fence lining the backyard. Mise-en-scéne is the fundamental value of film that defines our location in the material world.
In the films we watch around the holiday season, every single one will have the homes wrapped in garland, wreaths on the front door, and lights on the trees/bushes. Once again to portray one of the themes of the movie or to support the time of year the movie is taking place in.
Before knowing what mise-en-scéne really was before this class, I never would have thought that everything on the screen was placed there for a reason and had thought go into where it would be placed and when to be placed on the screen. So when I chose The Blind Side, with John Lee Hancock as the director, I sat and was watching the movie so closely and noticing the amount of times I had to hit pause because the placement of everything I could see on the screen had so much meaning to the theme/issues of the movie. It was so interesting to now understand why Hancock has placed the characters in the clothes, home, and surroundings he did to relay the message/theme of the movie he wanted the viewer to see and leave with.
The found theme/issue with The Blind Side that I now see is depicted throughout the film is the racism found in the south and how this makes Michael Oher (main character who overthrows the issues that are brought because of the themes in the film). With the white and black theme we also find the theme of poverty and wealth. The movie is started with a black screen and crowd cheering. Then we hear narration from what will be another main character and huge influence in Michael Oher’s life, Leigh Anne Touhy. While she is narrating, football clips are playing and have it look as if we are watching them though an old tube TV as the picture is not super clear. Leigh Anne: “There's a moment of orderly silence before a football play begins. Players are in position, linemen are frozen, and anything is possible. Then, like a traffic accident, stuff begins to randomly collide. From the snap of the ball to the snap of the first bones, closer to 4 seconds than 5.”
[video rewinds along with the noise of the video rewinding]
The connection of what we see on the screen of the football clips and the pausing, rewinding and slow motion of some plays really lets us see what Leigh Anne is narrating. This also helps with the viewers being able to relate to the movie already within the first three minutes of the movie. Leigh Anne: “One-mississippi - Joe Theismann, the Redskins quarterback takes the snap and hands-off to his running mate. Two-mississippi -...
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