Mise-en-Scene refers to the arrangement of all the design aspects of a film or theatre production.
For this blog post I’m going to be analysing the frame below from Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim in terms of selected Mise-en-Scene features used.
In this scene, the type and clothes and colours play into showing characters’ motivations and alliances. Lathrop and Sutton (2015) write that any costume can become a prop, and I think in this scene that idea is demonstrated well.
I want to particularly focus on Mako’s outfit. Although she is wearing the same outfit as Raleigh, the colour matches Stacker’s. Black often represents formality and power, so while the she may have matched outfits with Raleigh (Tank top) which shows a forming relationship, the fact she still is wearing the same colours as Stacker shows her allegiance still lies with him and she is still thematically tied to him
Matching the costumes also works to link the characters and motives together. Not only does the main plot of the movie start in this scene, but the character’s relationships start to link and become more positive. By having them all be connected by their outfits the audience starts to see the characters as a conjoined unit and see that their actions are now connected.
This shot is framed in a way that demonstrates status as well as the tense atmosphere of the scene.
The frame is also stretched to accommodate Stacker and makes the other characters almost look off centre. By having him a head higher than the other two characters, along with him being the only character to comfortably show his full body in the scene shows his power and high status. This also put the characters in a diagonal line going left to right across the scene, which i really like the composition of.
The horizontal lines of the pipes and steps also frame Stacker, ensuring that even though he is the smallest figure in the frame the audience is still drawn to him and aware of his importance.
The pipes and steps being on the edge of the frame also helps make the scene look smaller. This scene is part of a last-ditch attempt by all the characters to get their plan to work, so by making the room dark, highlighting the small size of the room and having the camera’s POV look over the shoulder of one characters helps highlight and increase the emotional and tense nature of the scene.
Lathrop, G and Sutton, D.O (2015) Elements Of Mise En Scene. Abstract (Retrieved from http://www.cantonschools.org/ via wayback machine) p2
Pacific Rim (2013) [Film] Directed by GUILLERMO DEL TORO. USA: Warner Bros.