Mise en scène
in Film modernism
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The radicalism of the theatre compared to the conservatism of the cinema in the early 1930s mirrored a situation that was true in the first few years of the cinema’s history. The term mise en scène began to be used in France for new theatrical practices in the late nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth to denote a more ‘naturalist’, sensual, physical and visual theatre than the theatre of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is in this period that filmed theatre became particularly evident in the French cinema (Film d’art): the staging of famous literary and classical works. Filmed theatre was in essence a caricature of the theatre - exaggerated gestures, an immobile camera, long takes, dull sets.

It is not difficult to understand in this context the revolution in cinema marked by the films of Griffith and Eisenstein for their fluidity, movement, energy and realised with specifically cinematic means.


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