Date of this Version
Rachel Peate: In this paper we will undertake a reading of one of Mann’s films – Bend of the River – as presenting a closed frontier. Our study will examine how this closure of the frontier is inscribed in the mise-en-scène as a foreshortening of the landscape, so that human actions appear to intermingle with it. We define mise-en-scène as the interrelation of objects within the space of the film frame, presented to the viewer as an “event” of the film.  The viewer is drawn into the film by what is offered in the mise-en-scène. Objects arrayed within the foreshortened landscape appear larger or smaller than what they would otherwise be. This deep focus style of imagery releases objects from the background and integrates them into the foregrounded meaning of the action.  Things such as spurs, coffee pots, mountains, boulders, river beds, and even the twigs of branches, become charged with an affective force that links the actions of the characters directly into the natural world.
This document has been peer reviewed.