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Elements Of Design in "The Dark Knight"

Categories: ArtDark KnightDesign

The Dark Knight” Mise-en-scene is a French term that refers to the staging and visual arrangement of a dramatic production. This includes such elements as scenery, properties, costume, lighting and the movement of the characters. In film making, the term is also used for the combination of all the elements in front of the camera (setting, lighting, acting, costume), distinct from the camerawork and editing of the film. With regards to film, the director, production designer and art director all work collectively to create the mis-en-scene for a movie.

The film clip that I have chosen to review with regards to mise-en-scene, design elements, and film production is “Always Smiling” from The Dark Knight. The artists involved in the film’s production are: Christopher Nolan (director), Nathan Crowley (production designer) and Kevin Kavanaugh and Simon Lamont (supervising art directors). The director, Christopher Nolan, has a primary role of overseeing every aspect of the film. It is the director who develops the vision, and acts as a story teller for the audience.

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He decides the overall tone and cinematic experience of the film. The director also is responsible to coordinate the actors’ moves, determine camera angles, and they may even be involved in the writing process, financing and the final editing of the film. The production designers are primarily responsible for the entire art department. They have a crucial role in assisting the director to achieve the film’s visual requirements. They may be asked to look at scripts before a director is approached to provide cost estimates for the art department’s projected spend on the film.

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When initially reading a script, the production designer will assess the visual qualities that will be used to help create the desired atmosphere that will bring the story to life. The art director is the person who is ultimately in charge of the overall visual appearance of a film, and how it appeals to the audience. The art director makes decisions regarding visual elements to be used, artistic style, and motion. It is the art director’s role to bring the collective input and creativity of the team members and the director’s vision into one olid vision. Lighting is used in this scene to create an overall dark and sinister mood, as is prevalent throughout the entire film. The lighting is subdued, never too bright, and seems to “hang” over the character that the camera is focused on, but everything in the background is quite dark and almost blurred. The lighting adds to the dark and sinister story that plays out in the film. The setting for the movie is Gotham, a modern day metropolis similar to New York or Chicago.

This particular scene takes place at a formal gala or dinner that is being held in a ballroom type setting. It’s a dimly lit venue, with formally dressed guests drinking champagne and eating hors d’oeuvres. The scene is filmed such that the camera is continuously focused on the two main subjects (The Joker and Rachel) as they have a conversation. The camera is slightly above and behind them and rotates around them as they talk, adding to the intensity of the scene. The background and people in the background are blurred.

It somewhat represents a battle between good and evil as the focus switches back and forth between the two characters. The costuming and makeup in this scene is particularly important for Heath Ledger’s character The Joker. His disheveled clothes, discolored messy hair and clown like smeared makeup (with the permanently carved smile on his face) create a sinister and disturbed demeanor. Rachel (played by Maggie Gyllenhal), has a sophisticated yet low key look in her formal dark colored evening gown, up-do hairstyle and minimal makeup.

The audience gets the feeling of dark and maniacal evil versus the pure and innocent. I believe the film makers did an effective job of creating the mis-en-scene not only in this particular scene, but also in the entire film. The design elements definitely lend themselves to the overall dark feeling of the movie and the sinister plot involving The Joker versus Batman and the overall theme of good versus evil. References Goodykoontz, B. , & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. www. filmclips. com www. imdb. com

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Elements Of Design in "The Dark Knight". (2018, Sep 16). Retrieved from

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