VST #1B- Mise en scene

  Mise en Scene

The various elements of design help express a film’s vision by generating a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood, and sometimes suggesting a character’s state of mind.

Avatar (2009)

Avatar (2009)

Academy Awards of Best Cinematography 2010


Set/CG Space Design:

Located in Pandora, the alien environment.


Colour and Lighting:


  • Warm colours only in the center
  • Blue tone grey (Paynes Grey) in the corners (off center)

The warm colours draw attention and brings out the focus.


  • Back lighting.
  • Low key lighting.

Warm orange light which contrasts with the blue skin of the Navis.

It still brings out the characters despite the low key light.

Shadows and warm light together creates a sense of tranquility and mystery.

Most light falls on the main character, Jake. (on the right) While on the left, the female Navi is mostly left in the shadows. This brings the focus onto Jake, who is being applied paint.

The white paint on his body also helps to draw the viewer’s attention.



Medium shot. The 2 characters in the title scene, forcing the audience to be focused on their action. They are facing the audience side ways as well, making their facial expression harder to view, but this also adds to drawing the viewer’s focus onto their movement instead.



The main character who has now entered the mind of a Navi is getting white pait applied to his face. The application of white paint can be considered as a cultural sign of him being accepted.

However application of facial and body paint can also be understood as a facade or mask. The character is now becoming some one else. In a sense, he becomes part of the Navis, he is no longer considered an outsider. At the same time this conflicts with his real identity: him as a human.

This foreshadows later on his inner conflict: to side with the Navis or humans.

In addition, body paint symbolises civilisation, savagery and possibly violence. This foreshadows events that occur later on in the film.




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