Close Reading and Mise-en-Scène

Trolly – New Orleans, 1955. From The Americans © Robert Frank
Trolly – New Orleans, 1955. From The Americans © Robert Frank

What is close reading?

Scholars, in many disciplines, often use the term “close reading” to describe the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of a text. A close reading often emphasizes the single and the particular over the general by giving sustained attention to individual words, syntax and the order in which the sentences unfold ideas.  – IB DP Film Teacher Support Material – 2019

1. Research Close Reading Tactics

2. Practice Mise en Scène Close Reading Analysis

  • Mise En Scene Analysis

3. Create a blog post titled, Close Reading and Mise en Scène

4. Copy and paste the following headings (including the resources):


Write a brief one sentence description of the project

Close Reading Image

Embed and cite image from a film for close reading

Close Reading Analysis

Embed your analysis presentation here by copying and pasting the URL to your presentation


5. Form teams of two

  1. Pick a movie still and be sure to cite it in your presentation
    • Remember Google is not a web site, you must click to visit the site if you search Google Images
  2. Identify the significant elements of mise-en-scène in the image
  3. Determine meaning within the image through an exploration of mise-en-scène
  4. Create and embed a slideshow in Google Slides and share publicly with
    • Embed the image on the master slide
    • Set the background to black and font to white
      • You do not need to have the separate colors like the sample below
    • Place the headings from the green slides and the image and answers from the teal slides
    • Sample:Dominant Slides Sample
  5. Critique and discuss findings from other teams

Examine student samples for clarity

Sample Movie Still from Old Boy

Image from
Old Boy Image from