Mise en scene is an expression used to describe the design aspects of a theatre or film production, which essentially means “visual theme” or “telling a story”—both in visually artful ways through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design, and in poetically artful ways through direction. It is also commonly used to refer to multiple single scenes within the film to represent the film.
Mise-en-scène has been called film criticism’s “grand undefined term”. When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. The “mise-en-scène”, along with the cinematography and editing of a film, influence the verisimilitude or believability of a film in the eyes of its viewers. The various elements of design help express a film’s vision by generating a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood, and sometimes suggesting a character’s state of mind.
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