The most noteworthy scene for me, in terms of recognizing what Bazin’s point was, was when when we were first introduced to Joh Fredersen. Fritz Lang sets the scene in a massively spacious, yet nearly empty room. It is Joh’s office, presumably, and by his grand view of the the great city, we can suspect he is of great power. The first few cuts feature shots with considerable depth of field. For example, we see Joh standing in front, facing the camera, as three “analysts” (or whatever they were assumed to be) are vigorously working. His expression is solid and stoic like a statue. Every movement and word is calculated with a purpose and even upon meeting his son, he is expression-less. Many shots here are more drawn out, breaking away from the monatge style we had seen earlier in the film. Fredersen in one shot is seen standing with his back to the camera in his shadowy control sanctum. We, as the audience, without even knowing what he is up to, are assured that it is mysterious and complex. I felt like I was being introduced to Darth Vader or some other character of infamous prestige. The combination of this expression-less character, depth of field, framing of shots, shadowy room, and even set design all contribute to the mise-en-scène. These images are clear as day to me even now and their memorable composition is what Bazin was talking about. Lang shows us the scene and lets us make assumptions for ourselves, rather than tells us.
This scene also subtly adds to Lang’s expressionist tendency. We miss most parts of the father and son’s first confrontation due to the silent aspect of the film, but we lose none of its meaning. The overdone makeup and expressions alone tell what is going on. Furthermore, Joh’s massive desk and great window overlooking a fantasy-like city, show Lang’s artistry. Details are not really details; they are loud and in your face. This contributes to the drama and emotion of the scene; the father being absorbed in this opulence, while the son is disillusioned by it.
Really enjoyed this film. Good start to an awesome semester!!!