Mise-en-scene when the film is set and

refers to what is put in front of the camera before you start filming,
therefore could be a part of the narration as “it has become a main tool that
directors use to control what they want the viewers to see” (Elizabeth Poole,
2018). The Mise-en-scene in the film Narnia (Andrew Adamson, 2005) such as
settings, props, costume and lighting are all important to show the fantasy
genre and could aid the narration to give the audience an understanding of the
story and plot.

setting within Narnia is one of the most important mise-en-scene elements as it
sets up the fantasy and it moves the narration forward. Bordwell, Thompson and
Smith (2017) have stated that setting isn’t just needed to be a place for
“human events” but can help with the narratives action. At the beginning of the
film it is set in World War Two in London and it begins with a blitz attack.
This scene instantly shows the audience when the film is set and it movies the
narrative forward because the children are then forced to evacuate to the
country, which is a big contrast in setting. The house that Peter, Susan,
Edmund and Lucy all have to live in is a big country house with lots of rooms
and a beautiful and big garden. This space allows them to play hide and seek,
which leads to the youngest sibling Lucy, to find the wardrobe which takes her
to Narnia. The setting helps to aid the narrative here, because it gives the
characters the opportunity to play the game that leads them to their adventure.
The setting of Narnia itself could also be very significant to the narrative as
it is a fantasy land with mythical creatures. Accoring to Dix (2008), settings
aren’t just in the background of action but are actually “themselves charged
with significance”. This could be true of the setting of Narnia with the snow
covered forest and mountain scenery as halfway through the film the snow melts
and it becomes summer. This change in scenery helps to show that the prophecy
that was foretold in Narnia is coming true and this is a big turning point in
the narrative as it shows the White Witch’s power is draining. The White
Witch’s castle is also a part of the narration of Narnia, because it reflects
her as a character. The setting is completely made of ice which shows her
character as cold and cruel and even the director Andrew Adamson said in an
interview that the film “takes us into realms that we can only imagine and the
challenge as a filmmaker is to create those worlds that live up to exceed
people’s imaginations and really transport them to another time and place”,
which all the settings including the castle provide. The settings helps the
story to stay imaginative because the characters become more realistic as they
can react to the scenery.

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well as setting props are too a great significance to the narrative of the
film, which is suggested by Bordwell, Thompson and Smith (2017) stated that
“when an object in the setting has a function within the ongoing action, we
call it a prop”. This suggests that props do have a part in the narrative and
an example in Narnia would be the lamppost that Lucy first sees when she steps
into Narnia. This lamppost has significance to the narrative because it allows
the story to come full circle. It is the first thing the children see when they
enter Narnia and it is the last thing they see when they leave as not only
kings and queens, but also as adults. The lamppost is a reminder of where they
come from and it is the marker for how to get back to reality. Other props that
suggest significance to the narrative are the weapons that Santa Claus gives
the children as presents and also the staff that the White Witch carries with
her. Peter revives a sword and shield, which he ends up using in the battle
between Aslan’s army and the White Witch’s army and the shield in particular
saves his life many times within this battle, even against the White Witch
herself. Susan receives a bow and arrows and also a horn and the bow she uses
in battle, like Peter and his sword, but the horn, when blown through will
bring her help. This is used to save her life and also Lucy’s, when the wolves
attack them in the camp. This then leads to Peter killing the wolf and becoming
a knight, suggesting that the horn is an important part of the narrative. Lucy
receives a little dagger and a potion that can heal any injury and with this
she saves her brother Edmunds life. Dix (2008) has also said that props can
provide information for characters and this is the case with the staff that the
White Witch uses. The staff turns anything it to he’s into stone and the witch
uses it for her enemy’s, she turns many creatures into stone including the faun
Mr Tumnus who wouldn’t turn Lucy over to her. All these props are part of the
narrative because they move the story forward and they help the characters
through their journey. Todorov’s three act narrative structure is what the
majority of stories are based on in films and props can aid the narrative
structure in helping the story to move forward. In Narnia the gifts that Father
Christmas gives the children helps in the third act of the structure due to the
fact that they help in the battle and therefore help to restore equilibrium. This
suggests that the weapons (props) that are used in Narnia are part of the
narration in terms of Todorov’s theory.

could be the mise-en-scene element that links the most to narrative as it is
the way actors are able to tell their story and get their emotions across.
Narrative evolves around characters and Vladimir Propp’s (1968) seven character
type theory
implies that there is
thirty one functions that seven
character types can have, however “Propp doesn’t
spend too much time on possible character types, because to him, they are mere
vessels for
actions” (The Narratologist, 2014), which suggests that characters are a big
part of the narrative and therefore the performance of the actors must be
important to help the audience believe them as realistic characters. This could
be true in Narnia particularly through the four children as they create tension
within each other at the beginning which overall causes their separation and
Edmunds betrayal to them. Their different personalities that they put across to
the audience allow the viewers to connect and sympathise with each of them,
especially Lucy the youngest. The way they also look after one another makes
them loveable heroes to the story which could suggest that performance is part
of narration. The performance of the White Queen is a little more stylised than
the method acting of the Pevensie children, because she is the villain of the
story. Butler
(1991) has
stated that with characters in film “the performance text are read and
comprehended by the spectator, who is sutured into the narrative through the
operation of the cinematic apparatus”, which can suggest that the White Witch’s
cruel performance style adds to the narration because it drives her actions and
choices in hurting her subjects to get to her goal of killing the Pevensie

well as props, costume also could be part of narrative even if it isn’t as
significant as other mise-en-scene elements. Within Narnia because it is set in
World War Two the outfits the children wear show the time they are living in,
which helps set the narrative up from the beginning. The children have a
costume change when they finally except that the prophecy is about them and
they can save Narnia, which links to Bordwell, Thompson and Smith (2017) who
said that “costumes can become motifs, enhancing characterisation and tracing
changes in attitude”. The Pevensie children become determined to fight for what
is theirs and changing into the old fashioned looking clothes and dresses shows
they have accepted that Narnia is where they belong. The White Witch has two
costumes that she wears, the first is a big, thick white dress and a tall ice
crown that reflects her character before she even starts speaking. The dress
suggests that she’s cold and cruel and she’s very pale and wears limited
makeup, that too emphasises her cruelty. This adds to part of the narrative
because it makes it easy for the audience to distinguish her as the villain of
the story. Her second dress that she wears for the battle is possibly meant to
be made of Aslan’s fur which is cut off him earlier in the film. This not only
shows how monstrous she is, but it shows her as a warrior as it makes her seem
like a lioness ready for war. Her costumes could therefore be part of the
narrative, but they could actually be just part of string up the genre of the
film as “costumes on screen may encourage the spectator to make assumptions
about a films genre” (Dix, 2008). This could mean that perhaps costumes are
about adding to the settings and characters, such as Narnia being a fantasy
film which we see through the costumes and also the mythical creatures like
centaurs and fauns. This could be the same for films like Lord of the Rings
(Peter Jackson, 2001) as the old fashioned looking costumes and creatures give
the audience clues to it being within the fantasy genre.

last mise-en-scene element to discuss is lighting of which also could be argued
as being both a part and also not of narration. Pramagiorre and Wallis (2017)
state that lighting creates an “understanding of characters, underscores
particular actions, develop themes, and establishes mood” and according to
Gerald Millerson (2013) it can also “transform a scene’s appearance or the
prevailing atmosphere”. Both statements show that lighting is about enhancing
scenes within a film rather than helping to aid the narrative, however it could
also suggest that lighting helps set up how the audience emotionally respond to
a scene, which could potentially be a part of narration. In Narnia most scenes
are set up with the natural lighting with the location, but the scene where
Aslan’s is sacrificed on the stone table the lighting is very interesting as
the scene is filmed in the dark and the audience believe that the characters
are lit by the torch flames, but warm lights were also used to make the scene
visible. The lighting here could be argued to act as part of the narration,
because the lighting adds a scary atmosphere to the scene, which builds the tension
between Aslan’s and the White Witch which could be a part of the narration.
Another scene in Narnia where lighting could be seen as part of the narration
is when Aslan comes back from the dead as the lighting is very bright when he
walks through the archway and it is most likely meant to represent holy light
as Aslan could be a representation of Jesus Christ. The lighting here could be
part of the narration in this scene due to what it represents as it gives the
audience the opportunity to interpret the scene in their own way and it helps
to show how Aslan has risen from the dead in a way that looks like a miracle.
From these examples it could be suggested that lighting is only part of
narration when it is set up for a specific purpose, as natural lighting doesn’t
add much to a scene, but by changing lighting so it becomes high key or low key
it can effect how the audience views a particular scene in the story.

conclude, there are many parts within the film Narnia that show mise-en-scene
to be a part of narration, particularly props and performance. Both these
elements of mise-en-scene help the audience to understand the story better,
which is seen within Narnia through the Pevensie siblings and the props that
help them throughout their adventure. Elements like costume and lighting could
be seen as less relevant elements to narration as they enhance scenes and make
them more realistic to the genre, however it could be see that they too are
part of narration, because they help to tell the story in fantasy films like
Narnia through the way they aid the characters.





A. (Director) (2005). The Chronicles of
Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Film. US: Walt Disney Pictures.

Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K., Smith, J. (2017). Film Art: An
Introduction. 11th edn. London: McGraw-Hill.

J. G. (1991). Star Texts: Image and
Performance in Film and Television. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Dix, A. (2008). Beginning Film Studies. Manchester: Manchester
University Press.

Poole. (2014). Mise-en-Scene. Retrieved
17th Decemeber, 2017 from https://elizabethpooleart.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/mise-en-scene/

P. (Director). (2001). The Lord of the
Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Film. US: New Line Cinema.

Millerson, G. (1972
2013). Lighting For Television and Film.
3rd edn. Burlington: Focal Press.

Pamaggiorre, M. Wallis,
T. (2017). Film: A Critical Introduction.
3rd edn. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd

Propp, V. (1928 1968). Morphology of the
Folktale. Austin: University of Texas Press.

(2009, 9th May). Andrew Adamson Video File. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/mLM2e03lOmU

Narratologist. (2014). Literary Theory:
Morphology of the Folktale. Retrieved 17th December, 2017, from http://www.thenarratologist.com/literary-theory/literary-theory-morphology-of-the-folktale-1928-by-vladimir-propp/





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