Miseenscne criticism thematic criticism auteurism Chapters and

Contrary to V.F. Perkins's claim that mise en scène as a film-making practice is dead, recent film critics have found it worthwhile to apply this concept to contemporary cinema. Adrian Martin distinguishes classical, expressionist and mannerist mise en scène, and argues that Perkins is simply lamenting the death of classical mise en scène (although it has many adherents in contemporary film-making practice). The categories of expressionist, and mannerist mise en scène are added to cover new film-making practices. Also, critics like Jonathan Rosenbaum continue to review films using the concept, while Bordwell has developed his historical poetics out of mise-en-scène criticism (citing Arnheim and Bazin) and from art history. Looking at the examples we have chosen, we might say that:

• The English Patient in a sense simply reproduces classical narrative and self-consciously evokes and nostalgically celebrates classical mise en scène.

• Chinatown, by contrast, is a transformation of classical film noir, which stages its devices, but also breaks the rules in the process, refracting them across the history of film noirs subsequent reception and interpretation.

What has emerged is that for traditional modes of analysis, narrative is absolutely crucial, however much mise-en-scène criticism and even thematic-auteurist criticism could and can afford to take the basic principles of cinematic narrative for granted. In each case the critical discourse either elaborates the narrative one or exists only in relation to and interchangeably with the principles of story construction as they have obtained in the fiction film in since the 1910s.

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