Week 5 Assignment

This week’s movies, Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars, both used mise-en-scene in different ways to tell a somewhat similar story. The setting was important in both films. Yojimbo takes place in a small town in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. By the end of the film, the town is destroyed as most of its inhabitants are either dead or have fled. In A Fistful of Dollars it is the same sort of location only Western. This movie had the advantage of color however, and despite its violence, the color scheme was very bright with natural lighting.
A motif for Yojimbo was the swords that were used and the gun. There was only one gun in the entire movie and it played a very important role. The man that owned the gun was the main protagonist and had the most power as he could injure from afar. Almost every character in this movie owned a sword, which set up for the many sword fights throughout the movie. This is similar to A Fistful of Dollars because a motif in that movie would have been the guns – specifically the rifle versus the pistol. These props are significant as they add to the constant violence of the two films.
Yojimbo played up the lighting contrast. This was exaggerated more due to the black and white filming. The lighting was almost always natural with the exception of scenes filmed in the smaller houses.
Costumes were important in both movies. In Yojimbo, the characters all seemed to wear the same thing. The women all wore pretty robes, did not wear shoes, and wore their hair in a bun. The men also wore robes, but they always had a sword tucked into them. They also wore their hair in a bun but a less feminine one due to their lack of hair. In A Fistful of Dollars, the costumes were important to emphasize the setting of being in the West.
Mise-en-scene was easy to pick out in both of these films.

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