This question focuses on mise-en-scène and cinematography in the film Babel (Alejandro Iñárritu, 2006), which is mentioned in the cinematography chapter in The Film Experience: “Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto used different stocks, cameras, and lenses to achieve the looks of three interconnected stories that span the globe in Babel (2006).” Pick one scene–or fragment of a scene–from each of the Babel’s Moroccan, Mexican, and Japanese storylines, and explain how its mise-en-scene and cinematography are distinctive. How did the production team make choices in cinematography (camera angle, lens choice, film stock) and mise-en-scène (acting, setting, props, lighting, costumes) that help distinguish that story’s setting from the settings for the other two stories. Compare and contrast how choices in mise-en-scène and cinematography define the settings for each of your scenes. (You don’t have to comment on every facet of the scenes’ mise-en-scène and cinematography; instead focus on the aspects that seem important to you.)
The questions ask you to analyze films using concepts introduced in this class. In answering the questions, feel free to draw on the class screenings, and also the course reading assignments and weekly lecture videos, to back up your points.
When citing sources, there is no need to include a formal bibliography or list of works cited. To refer to a lecture video, use parentheses, as in: (Lecture Video 3.1). To refer to a reading assignment, cite the author and page number at the end of the sentence using parentheses, as in the following: (Thompson and Bordwell, 83).
You don’t need to include quotations from the book and lectures when analyzing a film. When quoting from the textbook or video lectures, try to do so sparingly. Limit yourself to relatively short quotes, and remember to integrate them into your analysis of the film. In other words, if you include a quotation, be explicit about how it supports your ideas on the film.
Each essay ought to include between 800 and 1,000 words. (If you write a bit more–i.e., up to 1,200 words–that’s ok.) Please write in full, grammatically correct sentences. As with all other assignments for this course, students are expected to do their own work on the Midterm and neither give nor receive unauthorized assistance.
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