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Mise-en-scene exercise in Sweeney Todd

by Paul Cote

The following is a sample writing assignment designed to accompany this clip.  The assignment is designed for new film studies students learning the basic fundamentals of mise-en-scene in film:

Using this scene, write three brief analysis of the following brief analysis of mise-en-scene: setting, costume/makeup, and lighting.  For each component, I have given you a series of sample questions to think about as you write your response.  However, these questions are primarily meant as a guide – I am less interested in you addressing every question, and more interested in you giving me a rich analysis of the scene.  Your analysis should have one paragraph for each component, totaling roughly one and a half pages in length. 

 

Setting:

What can you say about the setting of this scene?  How would you characterize it? Does it seem realistic, or does it seem stylized?  How does it appear to have been constructed?  Does it appear to be a sound stage, a real location, a CGI backdrop, or some combination?

After you think through these questions, think about their ramifications - what effect does the setting have on you as a viewer?  Does it say anything about the characters?  About the narrative?

 

Costumes/Makeup:

How would you characterize the appearance of Depp and Bonham-Carter?  What sort of makeup and costume design do they favor?  Are the makeup and costumes realistic?  Stylized?  If so, how?  Again, what effect do these visual elements have on you as an audience member?  What significance do the makeup and costumes have to the narrative?

 

Lighting:

What lighting style does the scene seem to favor?  Does it appear to be high key lighting?  Low key illumination?  Where does the light seem to come from? And once more, what effect does this lighting strategy have on you as an audience member?  What significance does it have to the narrative or the characters?

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by kbhatnagar

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Sweeney Todd - "My Friends"

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This the "My Friends" sequence from Tim Burton's adaptation of SWEENEY TODD. Though the film is primarily famous for its music, it's spare and deliberate visual design also serves as a useful way to introduce students to the fundamentals of mise-en-scene.

from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2008)
Creator: Tim Burton
Distributor: Dreamworks
Posted by Paul Cote
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