Wednesday, November 9

Barton Fink Opening Sequence

 Barton Fink, Directed by Joel Coen, 1991

The Coen brothers are known for their interesting uses of Mise-en-scene.
The first film I analysed with my class today is the film Barton Fink. In the opening sequence we are following a rope being lowered which is a rope for the red curtain in a theatre. We then are looking at a man holding a play rolled up in his hand and just mesmerised by what seems to be a play he has written being performed. We can tell this because he mouths the last line of the play before the audience start cheering. Then two men come behind this character who is Barton a play writer. We are then taken to a fancy restaurant where Barton is quite reluctant to eat with the people at the table he is taken to as he doesn't like what they are talking about and shows no emotions towards them.
There are a lot of interesting pieces of Mise-en-scene in this opening passage of Barton Fink. When we are watching the rope come down, there is a sign that comes up saying No Smoking, however the people controlling backstage are smoking which creates irony and is something that I find quite amusing.
The next useful and interesting piece of Mise-en-scene is the script held by Barton. It shows how much he cares about his production and it shows that he really gets into his plays.
The costumes used throughout this opening sequence were mainly formal and upper classed clothing, only the backstage work men were wearing tatty clothing.
The most important piece of Mise-en-scene is when his producers come to stand behind him after the play finishes. This shows he has the power but the producers pay for his productions.
Finally, the way that the Coen brothers make the character Barton act shows a lot about his character. The script symbolized he thinks greatly about his plays, the way he speaks differently to the others in a slow and none emotional way shows he is his own person and when the producer for his play read out a review on one of his plays, he tried stopping him as he doesn't like boasting. This shows he is a cool, calm character who loves his plays and nothing else.
I would like to use the Coen Brothers style of Mise-en-scene in my groups opening scene as they use Mise-en-scene to give a lot of meaning to background and to characters which makes the film more interesting and symbolic.

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