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Frame in the Movie Yellow Earth
The movie, Yellow Earth, focuses on images that use mise en scene aesthetics. Bazin advocates the use of mise en scene rather than using montage. In mise en scene, the director takes account for everything that appears in the frame. The director also takes the effects in the onstage space of the frame. Some examples of effects in the frame are lighting, setting, costume, and character behavior. Even though mise en scene literally means, “placing of the scene”, contextually it means all the effects, actions, and settings in a frame prior to editing. Due to the lack of editing, mise en scene (in contrast to montage) usually presents a long shot to capture more of a realistic emotion. In mise en scene, the shot shows a close up of a character to show emotion. In mise en scene, unlike in montage, cause and effect take an important place in the same, lengthy shot.
A reoccurring scene in the movie, the scene of Ciuqiao collecting water from the river, uses mise en scene effectively. The director of Yellow Earth, Chen Kaige, accurately portrays the perils of Ciuqiao’s life. Everyday Ciauqiao goes to the river to gather water for her family. A significant scene in the movie points out where Ciuqiao expresses her grievances by singing. As the sun gradually sets, the sky sullenly darkens. The sunset sky signifies the young girl’s feelings. The dark sky suggests that Ciuqiao feels sad and downtrodden; however, the pockets of sunlight may show that there is still hope for this young girl. Her singing everyday at the same time demonstrates even more significance in the movie. The river in the scene, gigantic and vigorous, seems to separate this young girl from the world in which she knows. With the visit from the soldier, Ciuqiao realizes that life is worth living beyond the Yellow Earth. Using mise en scene, the director of the movie seems to capture Ciuqiao’s facial expression and emotion during the song. The audience sees Ciuqiao so closely that they question if she is, in fact, singing or not. One could go on forever and ever about the beauty of this scene because of the long shot is taken. Kaige, in agreement with Bazin, uses mise en scene to portray the life of Ciuqiao on the Yellow Earth.