Semantic Implications of Mise-en-scene in the Iranian Art Cinema
This article, entitled “Semantic Implications of mise-en-scene in the Iranian Art Cinema”, deals with semantic implications in different aspects of mise-en-scene such as scenery, lighting, camera movement, and blocking. The main objectives of this article are, firstly, providing a better understanding of the semantic aspects of such techniques, and, secondly, providing a more through way to analyze Iranian art films. Beginning with problem statement, we argue that mise-en-scene, as an important aspect of creating meaning in (art) films, has not been fully analyzed by Iranian film critics. This fact, coupled with a manifest presence of mise-en-scene elements in the work of Iranian prominent filmmakers, clearly demonstrates the importance of this research. Bearing in mind that art films do not follow the popular stances, we discuss that this kind of cinema always puts forward questions about what goes on in any given society. In better words, art cinema is portrays the filmmaker's concerns and thoughts about the society s\he lives in. for example, Iranian filmmakers such as Ebrahim Golestan, Sohrab Shahid Sales, and Abbas Kiarostami, have deployed the film medium to reflect upon Iranian cultural and social atmosphere. Considering all this, the main question of this article is: what are the semantic implications of mise-en-scene in the Iranian art cinema, concerning scenery, lighting, camera movement, and blocking? At first some definitions of the term "mise-en-scene" are introduced, including some definitions provided by Brian Henderson and David Bordwell. The terms "semantic implication" and "art cinema" are also briefly discussed, taking upon Ernst Lindgern's and David Bordwell's definitions of the terms. Then, a discussion follows on the importance of the issue and on the necessity of research on the subject that would yield theorizing about Iranian cinema. In the first section of the article, the key terms of the research are also defined. In section two, different aspects of mise-en-scene are explained, and a brief background summary is presented regarding the history of mise-en-scene in cinema. Furthermore, some prominent previous research on the subject and the definition of the terms are discussed. Towards the end of the first section, semantic implications in the four main aspects of mise-en-scene – that is, scenery, lighting, camera movement, and blocking – are explained. The main body of the paper, however, deals with semantic implications of the four main aspects of mise-en-scene in a corpus of films made by three prominent Iranian filmmakers: Abbas Kiarostami, Sohrab Shahid Sales, and Ebrahim Golestan. These films include Brick and Mirror (Golestan), Still Life (Shahid Sales), And Life Goes On (Kiarostami), Where is the Friend's Home? (Kiarostami).For the purpose of clarification, many pictures, taken from the actual frames of the films, are included in the text. In the final section, the findings of the article are listed and further explained. Diversity of the semantic implications of mise-en-scene in Iranian art cinema, demonstrates the powerful usage of this cinematic device in the works of the selected Iranian filmmakers. Considering the limitations of this research, suggestions for further research are also made at the end of article.
Honar-Ha-Ye-Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye Mosighi Va Namayeshi, No. 44, 2012
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