In order to understand the general idea of what a mise-en-scene, one must know the definition of it. It is French word that means “staging or putting on an action or scene” (p. 156) it is the background and staging that is in every film or movie ever done. It is the dressing or background in which the narrative of the movie blends with to make a realistic and enjoyable movie. From the lighting of the camera and the costume and design, to the framing and the borders in which the director cuts an angle or scene to make the movie as realistic and entertaining as possible.
All of these techniques are what makes a movie a hit or miss and generally fall into the category of Mise-en-scene. The connection made between the movie and the lecture and reading from the class, it is obvious that mise-en-scene is used extensively to the plot or basis of the movie. Unlike other films where the staging or the background is a part of the narrative, Pleasantville’s main theme for the viewer to be entranced by the sudden burst of colors that eventually fill up the screen more rapidly and enable the viewer to experience the movie more vividly.
One example of scenes in the movie that are influenced by mise-en-scene is when the brother and sister are transported to Pleasantville; David becomes aware right away because everything is in black and white. That part of the mise-en-scene is what is called lighting. It is the combination of style and color that the director inserted in the film so the viewer knows that the siblings were transported to Pleasantville. Another example is the use of costume and wardrobe.
The distinction between the real world and Pleasantville is contrasting and the director specifically did that aspect of mise-en-scene to let the viewer’s know that David and Jennifer have left home and arrived in Pleasantville. Another aspect of mise-en-scene that was discussed in class the correlates the movie is the proxemics distance between two characters. The space occupied by two characters influences the viewer’s thoughts on how each character is emotionally involved with the other.
If there is a scene in which two lovers (Mr. Johnson & Betty Parker) are talking to each other before they lock lips, the angle of the camera would look different than that of a shot involving say, two classmates discussing an assignment in the library. In the book, looking at the movies, One of the most important jobs in trying to make a movie as authentic and as real as possible, the responsibilities falls on the production designer. On p. 62 of the book, it explains what it is a production designer does for a movie to create the exact vision the director and studio have in mind when they agree to make a film. “…. the production designer works closely with the director…. in visualizing the movie that will appear on the screen. The production designer is an artist and an executive, responsible for the overall design concept, the look of the movie-as well as individual sets, locations, furnishings, props and costumes…”