Let The Mise-en-scene Shine Through:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
October 29, 2011
Mise-en-scene is used throughout the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The scenes where mise-en-scene shows up the most are when Joel, the main character, has flashbacks to his memories with Clementine, who is his love interest in the film. The sections of the movie which illustrate examples of mise-en-scene, as shown in Joel’s memories, can be broken into three main categories: the disappearance and/or disintegration of certain visual elements within the memories, the distortion or changes of visual elements, and the creative perspective techniques used in several memory scenes throughout the movie. The whole movie serves as a key example of mise-en-scene being used effectively in a movie, in order to connect the visual elements of the film with what is going on in terms of the plot.
Visually, a common theme throughout the whole movie, especially during his memories, is distortion. As Joel is going through his memories, and is getting deeper and deeper into his relationship with Clementine, he is also losing more and more of those memories; when this is happening his concept of real life and memories begin to mush together and become more complicated as they get interwoven into one another. A good example of this is in the memory sequence when Clementine has run out of Joel’s apartment, after their argument, and Joel follows her up and down the same street in his car. As he follows her, the buildings seem to flip forward to backwards and the car goes from one end of the street to another. The second way that the same sort of disintegration is used is where memories disintegrate completely. Visually, when the memories disintegrate, the audience sees the world around Joel crumble and disappear. As Joel journeys further into his memories with Clementine, the...