A Mise-en-scene analysis of Taxi Driver.
A Director can interpret a script in many different ways, by imposing a certain style onto the story it can be perceived differently. A Director can use mise-en-scene by simply letting the script guide how the film looks, and use quite an unobtrusive style, sticking to classical mise-en-scene, or draw more attention to their style, which may influence its meaning in different ways and create certain symbolism, a more expressionist mise-en-scene. .
Mise-en-scene literally means everything within the scene; Elsaesser and Buckland go one step further to describe it as "the relation between subject matter and style" .Adrian Martin describes how expressionist mise-en-scene is where "general strategies of colour coding, camera viewpoint, sound design and so on enhance or reinforce the general "feel" or meaning of the subject matter" . Martin Scorsese often uses quite an expressionistic style of mise-en-scene, especially in films such as The King of Comedy , and Taxi Driver , the film I will be studying. As well as creating meaning from the mise-en-scene I will also discuss how he predicts the massacre at the end of the film, which is known as foreshadowing, as Thomas Elsaesser and Warren Buckland describe "the film discourse presage[s] upcoming events.(Foreshadowing is part of the commentive heuristic)" .
The mise-en-scene, from the very start makes the spectator quite claustrophobic and unsettled, introducing the taxi as though it were a monster emerging from the deep, Lesley Stern describes it as "like the snout of a huge beast rising up out of some subterranean lair" , it appears out of thick steam from the New York sewers, gliding past the camera in slow motion through the credits, filling up the whole screen. We see the driver's eyes lit by the red brake lights of the car in front but aren't shown any more of the mystery figure, making him simply a driver and putting the taxi centre stage.