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Analysis of Narrative Structure and Mise-en-Scène in a Hollywood Film

Film Directors are able to create a unique vision and style in their films by employing a number of cinematic techniques.  These techniques combine to create, what has become known as a film’s, mise-en-scene, or “putting on the stage”.  As we discussed in class, various camera, lighting, sound and editing elements are brought together to enable the director to build his or her film.  

Choose any non-animated Hollywood/U.S. film that you wish to examine. Your job is to analyze this film based on its narrative (story-telling) structure and its mise-en-scene (visual/shooting style). In Section 1 of your paper, discuss the film’s narrative style. Who is the film’s protagonist, what are his or her goals, what prevents them from achieving these goals easily, and how does the filmmaker tell his or her story.  Is it a linear or circular narrative, a narrative based on time or space or is it told in flashback or parallel timeline etc. DO NOT JUST RE-TELL THE STORY!

In Section 2 of your paper, discuss the filmmaker’s overall use of the various camera, editing, lighting and sound techniques in general.  Does he or she use a lot of low and high angle camera shots?  Is the lighting high key (realistic) or low key (atmospheric)?  Does the director use a lot of unusual editing transitions when cutting between film shots, scenes or sequences?  What is the overall impression or atmosphere that he/she is trying to create? Why do you think that he/she has chosen to shoot the film this way? Remember, nothing in film is random!!! USE EXAMPLES FROM YOUR FILM!

In Section 3 of your paper, choose one scene in particular and do a shot by shot analysis. For example: Shot 1: Extreme Close up with Dissolve to Shot 2 etc. Make sure to tell me what is in the shot. Why do you think the filmmaker chose to shoot the scene the way he/she did? What would you have done differently? Don’t be afraid to be critical/analytical! This is a learning exercise…do your best!

Your paper should be between three and four pages. Double-spaced, using 12-point font.  It will be marked based on your understanding of the various elements that create a film’s narrative structure and its mise-en-scene, the quality and thoroughness of your analysis, as well as, spelling, grammar and sentence structure. A rubric will be posted. The paper is worth 30% of your final grade and is due on Friday, June 12, 2020. Assignments that are copied in any way from online sources or that are NOT Hollywood films, will receive a zero with no chance of a re-write.

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