How do sound, Mise-en scene and performance create meaning in an
extract from “The Notebook”(2004)?
Immediately mise en scene helps to provoke feeling from the audience via
the colors that are used. Strong vibrant colours are used at the beginning of
the scene to compliment the calm and happy atmosphere that is created. As
the storm arrives the colours drastically change to dull washes of grey. This
helps the audience understand how the characters are feeling as the storm
symbolizes that that have to go home and represents that their happiness is
fantasy at this point of the clip. This pathetic fallacy exaggerates how the
characters are feeling and helps the audience understand this more clearly.
Mise en scene also creates meaning by the surroundings of the scene and
the location of the characters. As the boat enters the lake it is surrounded by
pure white ducks and tall thin trees. These trees act as a source of protection
for the pair and allow the audience to feel relaxed as they rekindle their old
feelings from the past. The idealistic location of the scene makes it look
magical and surreal which also helps provoke the feelings of love and
romance from the audience. Due to the surrealism, the narrative is opened to
all possibilities and the scene becomes unpredictable and more exciting.
However, the lake that the pair row in represents their “own little world” and
allows them to feel safe and secure – a feeling that is past on to the audience
and contrasts well to the unpredictability of the rest of the scene.
The sound used in this clip from “The Notebook” compliments how the mise
en scene is used and therefor helps to exaggerate all the feelings and
meaning that is created. The sound is mainly non-digetic music and is added
to help the audience feel on par with the characters and allows them to feel
more involved with the scene.
At the beginning of the scene soft, calm music is playing as Alli and Noah row
into the river. This piece of music is reconised as the theme tune for the
notebook and is played several times throughout the scene and the film. The
piece of music creates a relaxed atmosphere and symbolizes how the two
characters feel at piece with themselves when they are together. Due to the
meaning of the music, it is played every time the audience are suppose to feel
this way and is used to focus the audience on the romance and peace of the
scene. It helps the audience feel as tho they understand the feelings of the
characters, which then goes on to them feeling them too.
As the two begin to row back, it starts to poor down with rain. In the same way
as before, the music continues to exaggerate the feelings of the characters,
however in this part of the scene it has a much stronger effect. At first it
creates a sad mood and implies to the audience that the scene may end
badly. However soon after this, the music climaxes and the volume suddenly
increase as they begin to laugh. This suggests several mixed emotions and
adds depth and deeper meaning to the scene. In my opinion, this part of the
scene is the single-handedly most important part as it represents Alli’s and
Noah’s relationship as a whole. The sudden burst of laughter and dramatic
change in sound show how freedom is finally felt by the characters and
creates relief for the audience. it helps us, as the audience, to understand
how the characters feel they can be themselves around each other and how
much a relief it is they have finally found each other again.
During the dialog of the scene the non-digetic sound is kept to a minimum.
This is to give the audience the chance to focus on what is being said and to
concentrate on the performance of the actors. I feel, as part of the audience,
that the performance of the actors creates the most meaning and provokes
most feeling so therefor i am going to focus on this part in more detail. Both
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams play their rolls exceptionally and to
perfection, especially in my chosen scene. They portray both characters as
real people and manage to convince the audience that the narrative is real
the first major characteristic they manage to convey is the difference in class.
This is very important as the main obstacle the two have to overcome earlier
in the film is the social difference they share. The main technique the two
actors use to show this is the difference in body language they use. Rachel
mcAdams who plays an upperclass girl uses gestures such as “sitting up
straight” to convince the audience of this. Ryan gosling, who plays a working
class boy uses very practical gestures such as rowing and slouching to
convey this certain characteristic. Due to the convincing performances, the
audience happily believes this and is fighting for them to overcome this
obstacle. as well as this, the situation can be related back to classic Disney
films that include the same obstacles but in a much more simplistic way, such
as “lady and the tramp” and “beauty and the beast”. Due to the audiences
prior knowledge of these masterpieces, they already feel close to the
characters problems and therefor are on side.
Another main feeling they manage to create through their passionate
performances is the feeling of love. They manage to convince us that they are
soul mates due to the sincerity of the scene and sincerity of the acting. When
the two switch dialog they gaze into each others eyes with passion and
desire. Alli shows regret that she has moved on and left him behind, and
Noah shows deep desire to keep her in his life. When Noah tells Alli that he
has made the house because “he promised her he would” she reacts with a
huge sigh to show the audience her regret and frustration of how much she
wants him. She also conveys her feelings of love by smiling and blushing
when he talks to her, she generally looks happy to be spending time with him.
when she finds out that he actually did write to her, she uses repetition to
convey how upset she is.
Towards the end of the scene, the tension and passion has built up so much
for the audience that they are on edge so see the outcome of the scene. This
frustrates the audience, but also makes then want to watch on to see what
happens. When the two finally give in to temptation and kiss at the end the
audience feels relived and happy. The actors over exaggerate this part of the
scene by using a dramatic and forceful performance.
They manage to create enormous chemistry within the scene that is noticed
by the audience and is perceived as real and everlasting. The performance is
so realistic the audience feels like they know the characters and feel close to
the jorney they have traveled on.
To conclude, all three micro elements create meaning of love and desire.
They help to drastically change the mood of the scene and provoke the
audience to feel the passion that they convey.
How does Performance and Cinematography create meaning for the
Audience, in an extract from ‘Into The Wild’ (2007)?
The scene I will be analysing is the last scene from the film Into The Wild, a
film about one young man’s decision to get rid of all his material possessions
and travel and live by himself in the wild. I will be looking in particular at the
performance and the cinematography to see how this creates meaning for the
The scene begins with a close-up shot of the main character; Christopher
McCandless, from an eye level angle. This shows the audience the details in
his face and his blank expression. We can also see that his appearance is
very scruffy and this gives an indication of what could have already happened
to him and what troubles may lie ahead for him. The camera then jump cuts to
show him writing in a book. The audience can see that he is writing this very
slowly, showing how weak he has become and how difficult it is for him. When
the audience sees him writing, the camera work is very shaky. This is a
representation of the character, as it is from his point of view and gives the
audience a feel for how he is moving.
In the next shot shot, the camera moves up his body to his face where we see
him take off his glasses. There is then an extreme close-up shot of his eyes to
show him crying. Here we can see how gaunt he appears and we get the first
feel of the characters feelings and emotions and what he is going through. His
eyes are very red and bloodshot, with big bags underneath them. The
audience can see the extent of the damage he has done to his body and how
ill he looks.
After the extreme close-ups of his face, the audience sees him struggling in
his bed, trying to pull up his trousers. This is another point of view shot from
the characters perspective because we can only see the lower half of his
body, as he would see it. The next shot is a low camera angle from outside
the window of the bus he has been staying in. It shows him reaching his hand
out of the window, using it to pull himself up. The audience can see how weak
he is from this as he cannot even hold up the weight of his own body.
The camera is then positioned above him as he is laying on his bed, making
every effort to pull his blanket onto him. Here we also get a sense of the
location it is set as the character is wearing a winter coat but is still cold so we
know that it is set somewhere cold or during winter.
Once he is in his bed there is a side angle close-up shot of his face to show
his expression. The audience can see that he is getting weaker and weaker
and he is gasping for his breaths. The shots showing his expression and
emotions make the audience feel sympathetic towards the character as they
feel as if they are experiencing this with him. Because the character is on his
own the audience are made to want to help him and be there for him.
Next there is a jump cut showing the sky through the sun roof. This is a point
of view shot as the character is lying on the bed looking up at the sky. There
is then a cut to show an image of a sign that Christoper has written saying
goodbye to the world. This creates a lot of sympathy for the audience as the
character has accepted his fate and he knows he has no chance of surviving.
Another cut then shows the audience another sign that Christopher has made,
this one carved into the bus. It merely states his adopted name and the date.
The next cut has been edited with a dissolve effect to go back to the shot of
the first sign. The camera zooms in to reveal a final line of text on the sign that
was not shown in the previous shot. Another dissolve effect follows to show a
close up of the newly revealed text where the character has written his real
name. This is a revelation for the audience as they are aware that the
character wanted to leave all parts of his old life behind him. They can now
see that he is at peace with what is happening and does not want to die
anonymously, with no way of his parents finding out what happened to him.
The next cut goes back to the point of view shot looking out of the roof at the
sky. The camera zooms in and you can see the clouds moving at a very rapid
pace, representing the quickening of the character’s heartbeat as he begins to
die. Some jump cuts flash between the sky and the close-up shots of the
character’s face. The camera then moves around in an anti-clockwise
direction above the character’s head showing a close-up of his face. His face
is blank, implying he is too weak to even show his fear or pain and he is just
waiting to die. As the camera is spinning around there are some jump shots
back to the image of the sky which are still zooming in closer towards the sun.
These cuts then become very fast jump cuts between his face and the sky,
with his facial expressions changing in between. He begins this sequence
smiling, as if he is fully prepared for his death and then reaches up towards
the clouds. The clouds then begin to stretch and warp out of shape, showing
he is starting to imagine things in his mind and lose his sanity. After this his
expression changes and shows a lot of fear. He begins screaming and the
cuts become much quicker and closer together. This sudden change shows
the audience that as he is getting closer to his death, and beginning to realise
that he may not be ready to die.
The audience is then shown into his imagination and the things going through
his mind as he gets closer and closer to dying. He is imagining what would
happen if he made it out of this situation alive. We see him going home and
running into his parents arms but cut with the image of the sky from the bus.
The expressions on their faces are a stark contrast to Christopher’s face in
the current time, as he is lying in the bus dying. The colour scheme is also
starkly contrasted in this imagination scene where the colours are very vivid
and bright, unlike the bland almost monochrome colours in the bus. As
Christopher looks up into the sky while hugging his parents, his expression
changes from smiling to a worried look. This links back to how he is looking
up at the sky while in the bus.
We are then taking back to Christopher lying in the bus, his expression blank
but with a tear rolling down his face. After seeing the imagination scene the
audience can tell he is crying after thinking about his family and how he will
never see them again. The sun begins to shine much brighter and this is
reflected on his face. As the sun gets brighter, the expression on his face
begins to light up and he appears much happier than before. There is then a
sudden contrast when the whole scene loses the light and goes very dark.
This represents his life draining from him. The camera is positioned above his
face and after rotating around, slowly starts to zoom out using a crane shot
from outside of the bus. The focus is still on his face as the camera leaves the
bus and moves higher into the air.
To summarise, cinematography and performance are used in this scene to
create meaning for the audience as the character dies. Many jump cuts are
used to show the determine the pace of what is happening to him. The
changes in the character’s expression shows the audience the development
of his feelings towards his impending death.
How does Cinematography and Performance create a response from the
audience, from an extract from ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)
Cinematography in ‘The Dark Knight’ gains a response from the audience
through the camera angles used, at the beginning of the extract the camera
focuses in on the elevator where one of the main characters (the Joker)
arrives, the camera follows him as he walks around the room with the guests
all looking in terror at the Joker. The camera then jumps to the other main
character in the film (Batman as Bruce Wayne) who is moving through the
apartment, the camera then flicks between the Joker and Bruce Wayne whilst
he moves through his apartment. Further on in the extract The joker is
Holding Another character (Rachel) by the face with a knife at her mouth, The
camera is spinning around them but still focusing on The Joker and Rachel,
this gets a response from the audience of Tension between the joker and
Rachel, the Audience also give a response of understanding the confusion
and mental mind set of the joker’s Character. Batman then appears behind
the joker and there is a fight scene the camera focuses in on certain points in
the fight scene such s the joker having a knife concealed within his shoe, this
creates tension ad would make the audience respond by wanting to watch
more, The joker then takes Rachel over to the window, he then shoots the
window and pushes her out, Rachel is then sliding down the building, the
camera focuses so that it is possible to see the building she is sliding down
but it is also possible to see hr facial expressions, the audience respond to
this with tension as you are not sure what is going to happen to the character.
and you want to know whether she will survive or not.
The special effect within cinematography also create a response from the
audience as during the fight scene between the joker and Batman there would
have been special effects, as things would have been added to the well
choreographed scene, such as the knife in the joker shoe probably would
have been added in afterwards, this would make the scene more dramatic for
the audience and also create tension and will make the Audience want to
watch more of the film and keeps them interested. There is also special
effects used when the joker pushes Rachel out of the window ad she is sliding
down the window this again causes tension and makes the audience wonder
if she is going to survive, the special effects are used when she is actually
sliding down the building as an actor wouldn’t be allowed to slide down a
building, a green screen was most likely used for this part of my Extract.
Performance in ‘the Dark Knight’ also gets a response from the audience, The
joker possible has the best performance in the film as his character is in a
insane mental state, that creates tension within the scenes that he is in. the
jokers insane mental state is shown by when he first comes into the room he
picks a glass of champagne up throws the champagne on the floor then
Takes a drink from the glass, he then walks around the room holding peoples
mouths as he talks to them and slapping them as he walks past, the audience
respond with a wonder of hat is going on in the mind of the joker and what is
actually happening, Rachel being the only fearless character in the film stands
up against the joker whilst he is talking and says “all right Stop” the joker in
turn turns his attention to her.The joker’s performance as insane is also
shown by when he holds Rachel’s face with the blade at her mouth, with an
angry expression on His face this creates Tension as you wonder whether
he’s going to kill her or not. Another part is near the end of the extract when
he is holding Rachel out the window Batman says “Let her go” The joker
replies with “Poor choice of words” and then laughs as he lets Rachel fall
down the building. The joker also licks his lips at different points throughout
the extract this gives the sense that he’s a little insane as you wonder why is
he licking his lip? These things make the audience respond with a sense of
confusion about the joker and what he is actually like, as these things make
you believe that the joker is actually real as the performance is so good that it
is believable. The way the joker talks in the extract also makes you wonder
whether there is actually something wrong with him or not as he is in a tense
situation yet he talks calmly and quite peacefully as he comes in and says
“who knows where Harvey Dent is?” but says it calmly even though he is
holding and gun and terrorising the other guests just by his presences. The
Joker also refers to Batman as THE Batman as if he is this one thing as if he
is a problem this also builds tension between the two characters and the
audience responds with this as they want to see what is going to happen
between the two characters.
The Performance of the batman in ‘The Dark night also gets a response from
the audience as at the beginning batman can be see as a coward and is
running away from the problem when he walks around the apartment but then
he walks past one of the jokers men and disarms him this makes the
audience respond with the thinking that he is now heroic and is going to help.
The Batman has a very abrupt entrance to the party as he appears behind the
joker and hits him, this makes the audience respond with a shock that batman
arrived that quick. during the fight scene that follows the batman manages to
fight The jokers men off until the joker releases a knife from out of his shoe
and then kicks the batman in his stomach, this in turn makes the Audience
feel sorry for the batman but also creates a want for the batman to be able to
fight back against the joker, it also creates a sense of wanting to know what is
going to happen between the joker and Batman. The way the batman talks
also gives a sense of mystery because his voice is very rough so that Bruce
Wayne’s identity is Concealed behind the mask.
How does performance, cinematography and sound create a response
from the audience in the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ fight scene from ‘Kill
Bill: Vol 1′ (2003)?
I will be Micro-Analysing the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ fight scene from ‘Kill Bill:
Vol 1′. Kill Bill is a fast-paced, macabre humour revenge movie, directed by
the notorious Quentin Tarantino. The start of the scene already uses the three
micro features to its full advantage. The beginning of the scene starts with a
slow paced shot of Johnny Mo, moving from the edge of his weapon to his
face. The non-diagetic sound which is played over suits the shot very well as
it has a Japanese Style theme to it as well as conjuring up tension. The
tension is created through the sound as it is calm and soft but it still tells the
audience that a big climax is about to occur. Johnny Mo’s performance also
contributes towards the tension significantly as he has a serious-minded
expression. The shot works well as the micro features contradict themselves
provoking a tense audience response as well as excitement and curiosity.
The next shot is a head-on-shot of Black Mamba surrounded by the ‘Crazy
88’s’. The camera then continues to zoom outwards showing the audience a
complete view of everyone in the room. The use of cinematography induces
the audience to think that Black Mamba will never survive as it is literally 1
person vs 88 people, a fight that seems inevitable. As Black Mamba draws
her samurai sword ready for a fight, nearly all of the Crazy 88’s flinch
backwards. This use of performance creates comedy as they really shouldn’t
have any need to be scared at all. This also creates comedy, as the Crazy
88’s really aren’t professional fighters and they’re made out to look weak. The
sound in this scene also combines with the performance as the music fits in
sequence with Black Mambas action of drawing her sword. As she moves into
her ready stance, the music adds in a sound effect to draw the audience in
and get them focused on the scene. The sound merges in with the
performance straight after again when one of the Crazy 88’s is swinging the
ball chain around. The sound works with this as there is actually a non-
diagetic ball chain sound. The use of this sound conjures up a war march type
theme as the ball chain sound acts as a macabre drone to the dominant
The cinematography in this shot focuses on the view from the Crazy 88’s
perspective. This view allows the audience to see how easy it seems to kill
Black Mamba as she is surrounded at all angles. This idea also makes the
audience question how she can get out of the situation, as either way she
moves she will get cut in the back.
As the scene draws to it’s climax, the non-diagetic music starts to gradually
build to a crescendo provoking a tense audience reaction. Whilst this is
occuring, the camera quickly zooms into Black Mamba from the birds-eye-
When the fight finally starts, the music stops dead provoking immediate
attention to the scene from the audience. The fight scenes performance is
mainly over-the-top and comedic with a lot of gore. The slicing and sword
sounds in the scene are non-diagetic whereas the actors voices and footsteps
etc… are diagetic. The use of the sound effects have been used to keep the
comedic aspect of the movie as the sounds are over the top and somewhat
silly like a badly dubbed movie. Tarantino has done this scene well, as
normally the audience would be cringing, but he has created the scene in a
dark way that the audience are entertained and can’t stop watching. One
instance of comedy is where Black Mamba pulls out one of the Crazy 88’s
eyes and then proceeds to throw it into another mouth. The camera focuses
on Black Mambas hand with the eye to shock the audience but to also
entertain them to a certain extent. The scene is ironic as it has all the
connotations of a poor movie, but at the same time it is a great movie which
has gained a high status in film. Another way in which comedy is shown is the
use of gore in the scene. The gore is so unrealistic and silly that the audience
enjoy the film even more as proves more entertaining that having realistic
gore. Examples of over-the-top gore is where Black Mamba cuts of the heads
of two people and where she chops someone in half.
Halfway through the fight scene Black Mamba comes across a young
defenceless member of the Crazy 88’s. The Crazy 88 is portrayed as a kid
and looks so young he doesn’t even fit into the scene. He begins to shake his
hands and surrender. Everything in the scene stops and despite all that is
going on, Black Mamba just stares at him in anger as she has a huge amount
of adrenaline and she has to stop because a boy is there who shouldn’t even
really be there. She then proceeds to throw him halfway across the room
which is again, totally unrealistic but still entertaining. This provokes humor for
the audience as it doesn’t make any sense, and no-one would expect a boy to
be there and for a woman to have the strength to throw someone across a
room. Sound plays a big part in this shot as everything goes quiet which
contradicts the general thought of a fight scene. As the boy gets thrown
across the room a sound effect is played which is similar to a sound effect
played in a badly dubbed martial arts movie.
As well as having humorous shots, there are also shots to make the audience
cringe or look away. One of these shots are when Black Mamba is standing
on top of one of the Crazy 88’s shoulders, which lightens the mood as this
obviously wouldn’t happen in reality, but she then slices a persons mouth from
cheek to cheek. The performance in this shot has been created to cause the
audience to cringe and feel sick as we get a full shot of the persons face after
it has been cut.
When Johnny Mo and Black Mamba begin to fight non-diagetic music is
played. The music in this case is like a badly dubbed Japanese Pirate Movie
which is perfect for the performance which is about to occur. When this music
is played, Black Mamba and Johnny Mo fight like they’re in a pirate scene,
and Black Mamba flies down to the bottom off a wooden beam like a pirate.
This is humorous when the audience links the two together because it is as if
Johnny Mo and Black Mamba are acting within acting. After Black Mamba
flies down using the wooden beam she looks up towards Johnny Mo, gives
him a sarcastic smile and lets it go. It then proceeds to hit him square in the
face knocking him through a wall. Johnny Mo then performs an over-the-top
dramatic death which reinforces the idea of them acting within acting, as it
seems like they’re performing a pirate scene.
The next shot is of Black Mamba seeing O-Ren Ishi leaving the room.
Determined to catch her and fight her, Black Mamba speeds up fighting off the
Crazy 88’s. The use of performance here shows the audience that she wasn’t
really trying the whole way through reinforcing the bizzareness of the film. In
the next few shots Black Mamba kills Johnny Mo and uses him as a human
shield, which again is comedic. The last remaining Crazy 88’s are flinching
and moving away from Black Mamba as she tries to figure out what to do
next. The facial expression on Black Mamba shows that she is serious about
killing them and getting to O-Ren. As she kicks Johnny Mo away into the
crowd to gain some time, a non-diagetic piece of music starts to play over.
In the final scene, Black Mamba is seen rolling around on the floor cutting of
all of the Crazy 88’s feet. This scene is cringy, gory and humorous which
creates irony and entertains the audience. The performance in this scene is
so unrealistic it works really well. The non-diagetic music which is played over
is of a surf-rock type band of the 80’s – something that you would never
expect to be played over a scene as gory as this one. Tarantino has put these
micro features together very well as we all know that they shouldn’t work
together, but they fit perfectly. Another way in which irony is created in this
scene, is where the Crazy 88’s performance doesn’t link in with the music’s
genre. The music itself is related to people being happy and dancing, but the
pictures it’s collaborated with are of people getting ‘butchered’ and screaming
in pain. Even though this sounds nasty and disgusting to watch, it is in fact
In conclusion, the use of Cinematography, Performance and Sound are use in
an unusual way to provoke audience reactions; they are used in the wrong
places. Tarantino has used the micro features in places where they would
never and originally should never be used. The way in which these features
contradict themselves creates humorous, disgusting, gory and cringy
atmospheres, something of which the films audience thrive on.