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Mise-en-scène: Film Style and Interpretation explores and elucidates constructions of this fundamental concept in thinking about film. In uncovering the history of mise-en-scène within film criticism, and through the detailed exploration of scenes from films as Imitation of Life and Lone Star, John Gibbs makes the case for the importance of a sensitive understanding of film style, and provides an introduction to the skills of close reading. This book thus celebrates film-making as well as film criticism that is alive to the creative possibilities of visual style.
Introduction1. The Elements of Mise-en-Scène2. The Interaction of Elements3. Coherent Relationships4. Investigations in the Critical History of Mise-en-Scène5. Mise-en-Scène and Melodrama6. Case Study: Imitation of LifeConclusionAppendixNotesBibliographyIndex
Posted May 6, 2002
The tenth volume in the Short Cuts series from Wallflower Press is the most narrowly focused and the most modest in intention. John Gibbs claims his task is '...less about saying something new, and more of bringing together in the same place, some of the ways in which mise-en-scene criticism has been brought about and put to use.' Gibbs succeeds, offering a good introduction to practical mise-en-scene analysis and a detailed, even affectionate, history of mise- en-scene criticism. The major topics are definitions of mise-en-scene elements ('the contents of the frame and the way they are organized'), how these elements interact to create meaning, the history of Anglo-American mise-en-scene criticism and it's relationship to the auteur theory, and the distinctive role of mise-en-scene in film melodrama. Gibbs focuses mostly directors celebrated in the early days of auteurism: Renoir, Ford, Ray, Sirk, Minnelli, Hitchcock, Ophuls. You can imagine an undergrad raised on high tech blockbusters getting a bit restless. The most important insight for the seasoned reader is how mise-en-scene analysis, as a preferred method of the auteur critics, elevated the role of director and in turn raised the status of narrative film from shallow escapism to profound artform.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.