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Time and Space in Once Upon a Time in the West

by Paul Cote

The following is an exercise designed to familiarize students with concepts of screen time and space within the shot.  It is especially relevant for students who have just read "Putting it all Together: Mise-en-Scene in Space in Time" from Chapter 4 of Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art: An Introduction: 9nth Edition.

Using this clip, answer the following questions about space, time, and movement in Mise-en-Scene:


1.  At the start of the clip (while the train is still in the background), how many overlapping planes are in the image?  Identify them.



2.  After the train exits the image, how many overlapping planes are visible?  Identify them.



3.  Is the final shot image of this clip an example of shallow space or deep space composition?  Give your reasons.



4.  Throughout the clip, is the linear perspective off-center or central?  Does it shift?  Give your reasons.




5.  Now synthesize this information: how do the answers to the previous questions guide your attention in this clip?  Where does the film direct your gaze?  How does it use time, space, and movement to direct your gaze?  


by kbhatnagar



by *


Time and Space in Once Upon a Time in the West

This brief clip is designed to be used with an exercise on mise-en-scene in time and space.

from Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)
Creator: Sergio Leone
Distributor: Paramount
Posted by Paul Cote