JCM212/mise-en-scene and cinematographic analysis

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Post-quiz free-time activities

  • Start reading, for 2/28, the keywords:
    • production, copyright, brand, censorship
  • Connect to your study group's Google doc
    • Write another a seven-word (or fewer) review of the last film or TV show episode you liked.

Group in-class exercise: Identify stylistic elements in Shakespeare in Love


  • Groups 4, 5, and 6 move to Group Study Rooms in the Phifer Learning Commons.
  • Connect to your study group's Google doc (above).
  • As a group, describe how select elements of mise-en-scene and cinematography (from lecture) are used in Shakespeare in Love to help construct the narrative. Copy specific questions from below.
  • Identify each contribution you make by putting your initials after it. Use three initials if your group has students with the same two initials.
  • For example:
    • Exposition: The exposition of this Friends episode starts with Rachel and Joey discussing a previously established storyline (Monica and Chandler getting together). The exposition for a second, related storyline and this episode's main story is when we see Monica and Chandler at a work party and it's established that he has an obnoxious "work laugh." A third storyline is introduced when Ross is angry about his ex-wife getting married. (JGB)

Discussion questions

How do mise-en-scene and cinematography help to communicate the story in this short scene from Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998)? (See video clip.) Or, in other words, how does mise-en-scene function to help construct the narrative?

  1. What narrative functions does the set design by Jill Quertier serve?
    • How does it use "iconography"?
  2. What narrative functions does the lighting design by Richard Greatrex serve?
    • Does it use three-point lighting (explain what three-point lighting is)?
    • Is it high key or low key?
  3. What narrative functions does the "blocking" by John Madden serve?
    • Does Shakespeare in Love use "composition in depth" in this scene?
  4. What narrative functions does the costume design by Sandy Powell serve?
  5. Considering the first two shots and Richard Greatrex's cinematography:
    • Is the focus deep or shallow? What narrative function does the focus choice serve?
    • How would you describe the framing (long shot, medium shot, close-up)? What type of camera movement is used? What narrative function does framing/movement serve?
    • Is the camera angle low, eye-level, high? What narrative function does camera height serve?
    • The theatrical version and the DirecTV version have different aspect ratios. Which aspect ratio is used for each? How did the DirecTV version alter the theatrical version?


Post-group work free-time activities

  • Put on headphones and watch remainder of Shakespeare in Love (on Blackboard)
  • Start reading, for 2/28 the keywords:
    • production, copyright, brand, censorship

Individual stylistic analysis

Details here: JCM212/Stylistic Analysis


  1. Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Critical Methods and Applications (New York: Routledge, 2011).
  2. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 8th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007).

External links

  1. Mise-en-scene Illustrations
  2. Shakespeare in Love video clip
  3. Shot Logger: frames from every shot in Shakespeare in Love