The movie Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, uses mise-en scene which in French means “having a good frame”. This is unmistakably obvious right through Amelie. In the introduction there is a breath taking shot of her skipping stones, her favorite thing to do. While standing on a bridge, the shot revolves around her. The director refers back to the theme of skipping rocks in and out of various scenes. Everywhere Amelie goes she picks rocks up and places them in her pocket, to skip later. In the appointed sequence when Amelie goes to visit her father she collects another.
In the sequence mise-en scene illustrates the beauty of this film without employing dialogue. Through the use of figure movement, behavior and lighting this sequence gives us an eerie magical feel. At the beginning of the sequence Amelie picks up a stone to throw at her Dads window because she can’t get into the house; but instead she gets distracted by her mother’s gnome, it’s like she almost hears it calling out to her (strange music adds to the dramatic effect). She turns her head slowly to peer at it over her shoulder and as she does the camera zooms into her confused but calm face.
Her stance is semi relaxed yet she still carries cautiousness around her. Wanting to leave, she hacks at the gnomes’ feet, freeing it from the rock that held it captive. She does this with such power and anger, a quality of Amelie that we don’t get to see that much in the film. Amelie is a rather shy individual, so to see that spark of personality excites viewers. With the gnome in hand, she makes her way back to the train station. The Paris train station at night gives a strange feeling. The lighting is a sick green color that makes the scene extremely different.
The contrast of Amelie’s black clothes and the bright red gnome hat against the green train station stands out. Red, blue, green and yellow are colors that are seen in nearly every scene of the movie. These colors assist to bring emotion to the film, which is very rare because the majority of movies today use words to communicate emotion. The director, in addition, digitally enhanced colors in the movie staying with the idea of popular colors. Amelie is forced to sleep the night in the train station because it closes before she can catch her train.
In the morning the train station is lit up! It’s beautiful how the light was captured, streaming in through the windows and making a scary green monster turn into an angel. This movie makes one realize all the details and effort that were put into it, and the importance of how one detail adds to the next, and how they each have their own purpose. The camera angles, colors, and movements of Amelie all give it an extra boost of attractiveness. The explained sequence is a grain of sand compared to the rest of the movie, Jean-Pierre and his crew deserves a huge pack on their backs, bravo!
Courtney from Study Moose
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