Micro Analysis

During this week you should be completing a close micro analysis of your sequence from your film.

So, let’s get down to the micro…

This is a process that you should be familiar with:

  1. Identify specific examples of production techniques:
    • Cinematography
    • Editing
    • Sound
    • Mise-en-scene
      • These examples must be named with a technical term
  2. Analyse the impact that technique, in combination with others, on the audience?
    • How do ‘we’ read the text?

Previous blog posts that contain most of the terms your need:

Sound Design
Production Design

Here are our mind maps on the four micro elements.

Studying the sequence

You should watch the sequence a minimum of five times.

  1. The first watch without stopping to get the gist of the sequence and place it the narrative context of the whole film.
  2. The second and third time should be a stop start screening, where you are looking for specific examples of the film element you are focusing on. You should also consider the immediate emotional impact of the technique (in combination with other micro areas) on the spectator.
  3. The fourth time should be to consider the representation of the characters. What do we now know about the characters that we didn’t know at the beginning of the scene?
  4. The fifth is to try and think about the scene within the whole film how does it contribute to the development of the characters and themes within the whole film

Here are documents to help you make notes on the four micro features as you watch the sequence.

Micro Analysis – 28 Days Later

The purpose of scene analysis is to identify narrative, visual and sound elements and to establish the link between minute detail and broader patterns of development in a film’ Pramaggiore, M., 2011

So, let’s get down to the micro…

This is a process of analysis that you should be familiar with:

  1. Identify specific examples of production techniques:
    1. Cinematography
    2. Editing
    3. Sound
    4. Mise-en-scene
  2. These examples should be named with a technical term
  3. Analyse the impact that technique, in combination with others, on the audience?
    1. How do ‘we’ read the text?
Group Essay

How does the scene, ‘Invasion of Jim’s Family Home,’ use film elements to explore the themes in the film and develop the character journey of Jim & Selena?

In this essay you will be working in groups of four. Each member of the group will be responsible for one paragraph as well as the quality of the essay as a whole. It is expected that you comment on and make suggestions for each others’ work.

This is an important opportunity to practice and refine your scene analysis skills, as well as to learn from each other.

You will be responsible for one of the following paragraphs:

  • An introduction
  • Analysis of cinematography
  • Analysis of sound design
  • Analysis of mise-en-scene
  • Analysis of editing
  • A conclusion

Collectively you will be responsible for the introduction and conclusion, which you will write last.

In total the essay should be a maximum of 1,750 words.


Batman Essay

Task – A textual analysis essay.

Essay title

Complete a textual analysis of the denouement of The Dark Knight and answer the following question.

‘Analyse and evaluate the representation of Batman in the final scene of the The Dark Knight (2008) Nolan.’ You should use specific examples of mise-en-scene and cinematography to discuss how Nolan highlights and underlines the messages and values of the film.

Advice and Guidance
  • The essay will be assessed in how it shows your ability to demonstrate…
    1. …an understanding of the cultural context.
    2. … an understanding of how the extract makes use of film elements to create meaning.
    3. …an understanding of the ways in which the cultural context of the film and the identified film elements relate to each other, as well as to the chosen film text as a whole
  • The essay should be 1,000 words long (+/- 10%). 
  • You should use screen shots of key moments from the sequence that are the subject of your close textual analysis.
  • You should refer explicitly to the Crash Course YouTube video on, ‘The War on Terror’.
  • Quote from the article we discussed in class, Dark Knight, Dark Ideas by Chris Turner. 
    • This article and the Crash Course YouTube Video should be credited and referenced at the end of the essay.

Textual Analysis of The Dark Knight

Textual Analysis Task:

In small groups or pairs analyse Christopher Nolan’s use of cinematography & mise-en-scene in one of the six sequences below.

Embed the sequence and your typed up notes into your reflective journal.

Write 200-250 words on your findings with regard to how the Joker is represented using camera and mise-en-scene as a ‘new’ kind of villain for uncertain and unpredictable times.

Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5

Scene 6

Pan’s Labyrinth Final Essay

An IB Film textual analysis essay is multilayered (like an onion). Here is a graphic, which tries to explain those layers:

1) The inner most layer must have as it’s focus the micro features of the sequence. So far we have only covered mise-en-scene in any detail and in this essay that should be your focus.

2) The middle layer is on the macro features of the film. During the last few weeks we have covered a lot of macro ground: genre, representation & narrative. You should try and link the micro and macro.

For example:

  • How do the characters, setting & iconography fit (or not) into the fantasy fairy tale genre?
  • How is this scene significant in the representation of Ophelia & to what degree does her characters redefine the ideology surrounding fairy-tale princesses?
  • This scene is important in the parallel narrative structure and reflects on Vidal and the conflict (theme) at the heart of the narrative, how?

3) The last layer is the context layer. This film was made as a comment on the Spanish civil war, the people who rose to power (the Fascists) and the resistance of some, to their cruel ideology. Del Toro is also using cultural references:

  • Other films
  • Art work
  • Historical events
  • Myths and legends…to add layers of meaning to Pan’s Labyrinth.

How are those references evident in the scene and what is the meaning is attached to those contextual references that deepens our understanding of the film?

The Essay & Sequence

‘A textual analysis of The Pale Man Sequence. How does mise-en-scene in Ophelia’s second task create meaning for the audience and reinforce the themes & messages that Guillermo Del Toro is trying to communicate in Pan’s Labyrinth?’

The essay is set and should be submitted through Google Classroom.

This is the sequence that is the focus of your analyse. 

Please use this document to help you make notes on the key elements of mise-en-scene.

Representing Ofelia

Most films follow one character (the central protagonist). Typically this central character has to undergo trials and overcome problems as the story progresses. Often these events and conflicts change the character and they learn something essential about themselves or a great truth about the world.

Today we are going to look at the character development of Ofelia. You should consider how her story reflects the themes of the film. To help you consider what those themes might be watch this video essay from Nerdwriter: 

You will be allocated one short scene from the film and you should complete an analysis of how she is represented. Please look particularly at the mise-en-scene and comment on how C.L.A.M.P.S communicates messages and ideas about the character and her experiences.

Here is a link to the whole film

Here is a document to help you complete the analysis.

You will be leading a discussion with the rest of the class on the section that you have been given in the next lesson.


  1. Complete a slide show of 6 slides, which cover the 6 areas of mise-en-scene (CLAMPS)
  2. Use the video to take screen-grabs of interesting elements of mise-en-scene and copy those into the slide.
  3. You can then record a voice over using Screencastify to analyse features of the text.


Mise-en-scene literally means ‘placed in the scene’.

Mise-en-scene refers to anything that the director chooses to film. Every element of mise-en-scene is carefully selected to communicate meaning, and mise-en-scene work along with other micro elements of film language to communicate an overall idea which helps tell the story of the film.

Here is a presentation on Mise-en-Scene:

Please complete a mise-en-scene analysis, using C.L.A.M.P.S on the still in the slides below. What ideas is Guillermo Del Torro communicating through the selection of mise-en-scene?

Here is a link to a video of the sequence – there are no subtitles, but this is fine. Film is a visual art (meaning is communicated primarily by what we see).