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This research explores about the mise-en-scene of the movie ‘Titanic’ and its impact to the film industry. This chapter discusses the mise-en-scene that is applied in this movie, and also we will discuss about how the impact to the film industry after released the movie ‘Titanic’.

‘Titanic’ is an American disaster and romance movie that released at the year 1997. This movie was directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron. ‘Titanic’ was an enormous critical and commercial success after screened to audiences worldwide. The amount gross avenue of the ‘Titanic’ is $1,843,201,268. This movie maintains the record of the top of box office in the world until the release of James Cameron’s movie – ‘Avatar’.

Mise-en-scene is a French word that means ‘what to put into the scene’. This is the design aspects of film production, means ‘visual theme’ or ‘telling a story’. There have five elements under the mise-en-scene which is setting, space, lighting’ acting style and also costume. This several elements of mise-en-scene will be use in further stage of this research.

1.1 Research Background

The movie ‘Titanic’ is a fictional romance story that is based on a real historical event, telling story between two young lovers ‘Jack’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) and ‘Rose’ (Kate Winslet) from different social classes who meet at the ship’s maiden voyage. Their love story end up with the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

The budget for this film reached about $200 million, making the record of the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Before its release, the film was widely ridiculed for its expense and protracted production schedule.

‘Titanic’ was released on December 19, 1997 with 194 minutes running time. This movie grossed less in its first weekend ($28.6 million) than in its second, ($35.4 million), an increase of 23.8%. This is beaten a record for a widely released film at the time. It held the No. 1 spot on the box-office charts for months, eventually grossing a total of over $600 million in the United States and Canada and more than $1.8 billion worldwide. Titanic became the highest-grossing film in the world, until James Cameron’s 2009 film – ‘Avatar’.

Despite criticism during production of the film, the ‘Titanic’ was received a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations at the 1998 Academy Awards. It won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Editing, Sound, Special Effects, Music and Score, and the Best Director award.

The movie ‘Titanic’ is based on the real historical event, so audience would have higher expectations toward the movie. Audiences have the foreknowledge that based on the real historical event, not much audience would wonder that the ship will sink or not in the movie. So, the mise-en-scene is an important aspect in order to make the movie interesting.

Other than the mise-en-scene, the class system has obviously shown through this movie. Although the passengers have taking the same ship, but there were have different treats towards different class passengers.

1.2 Summary of the ‘Titanic’

‘Titanic’ tells the romantic and sad story. The story started by the treasure hunter Brock Lovett and his team explores the wreck of the RMS HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic”Titanic in 1996; they are searching for a necklace called the Heart of the Ocean. Instead of the diamond, they find a nude woman’s sketch, dated April 14, 1912, the night the Titanic sinking. The old woman Rose Dawson Calvert contacts Lovett, and tells him that she is the woman is the sketch. When asked if she knows the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose recalls her memories aboard the Titanic.

In 1912, the upper class lady Rose and her mother board the ship in Southampton, England with her fiancé Caledon “Cal” Hockley, the son of a Pittsburgh steel tycoon. Cal and Rose’s mother stress the importance of Rose’s engagement, because the marriage will solve the financial problems of Rose’s family. Rose is unhappy by her engagement to Cal and the pressure her mother is putting on her, Rose considers suicide by jumping into the sea. Before she leaps, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson intervenes and persuades her not to jump. Jack and Rose develop a tentative friendship.

Rose not considering with instruct of her mom and Cal to meet with Jack. The ship is collision with an iceberg, the ‘Titanic’ will be sinking soon. Cal persuade Rose to a board of a lifevoat, after she boards, Rose realizing that she cannot leave Jack, Rose reunites with him back on the Titanic. As Jack and Rose return to the top deck, people everywhere are falling to their deaths and the lifeboats have all departed. The two take refuge on the stern as the ship sinks bow first until they are washed overboard. The sea water is cold. Jack helps Rose onto a nearby wall panel that will only support one person’s weight. Jack assures Rose that she will not die there.

When a rescue boat returns to the site of the sinking, Rose blows a whistle taken from a nearby dead officer, and is taken by the RMS HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Carpathia”Carpathia to New York, where she gives her name as Rose Dawson. Hidden, she avoids Cal for the last time on Carpathia’s deck as he searches for her.

Her story complete, Rose goes alone to the stern of Lovett’s ship. There she produces the Heart of the Ocean and drops it into the ocean. Later, while seemingly asleep in her bed, the photos of her days surround her, a visual chronicle that she lived the life she wanted with Jack. The young Rose then reunites with Jack at the Grand Staircase of the Titanic, cheered and congratulated by those who perished on the ship.

1.3 Research Problems

The movie ‘Titanic’ has successfully to bringing audiences to the cinema and hit the top of the box office over ten years with a worldwide gross of over $1.8 billion, and remained so for twelve years until Cameron’s next directorial effort – ‘Avatar’, surpassed it in 2010. ‘Titanic’ was an enormous critical and commercial success. It was nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, eventually winning eleven, including the Best Picture and Best Director.

Some of the internet users were created the trailer of ‘Titanic II’ and upload in the Youtube.com. It makes people feel that the ‘Titanic II’ will be release soon. But actually the trailer is the combination of different movie scene that is acted by Leonardo DiCaprio. From here, we can notice that the passion of audiences toward this movie.

In an interview on March 2010 with USA Today, the director James Cameron stated, “I’m guessing six months to a year to do it right. We’re targeting spring of 2012 for the release (of a 3-D version of Titanic), which is the 100th anniversary of the sailing of the ship.”

Nowadays, most of the film director is producing the movie with their own style. Mise-en-scene is an important aspect in order to bring out and enhance the quality of the film. Obviously, ‘Titanic’ have the power to maintain the top of the box office over ten years, the mise-en-scene on this movie is one of the reason to make this good result.

As mentioned above, the ‘Titanic’ will coming back to the cinema with the 3-D version, the storyline is the same. The same movie will be release in the cinema after 15 years. It is the main reason that inspired me to do research about the mise-en-scene and impacts of this movie.

1.4 Research Objectives

To investigate the five mise-en-scene elements those are seen in the movie ‘Titanic’.

The main goal of this research is to discuss the five mise-en-scene elements that are seen in this movie.

To study the ideological elements portrayed in the movie ‘Titanic’.

Second, this research is going to discuss the ideological elements that are portrayed in this movie.

To discover which aspect of mise-en-scene which is most preferred by the viewers in the movie ‘Titanic’.

Third, since this research has discussed the five mise-en-scene elements that are seen in the ‘Titanic’. So, this research also going to find out the most preferred out of five mise-en-scene elements in this movie.

Research Questions

How were the five elements of mise-en-scene applied into the movie ‘Titanic’?

What are the ideological elements portray in the movie ‘Titanic’?

What is the most preferred mise-en-scene element by the viewers in the movie ‘Titanic’?

1.6 Research Significance

The significance of this research towards the mise-en-scene and its impact on film industry and society of the movie ‘Titanic’ will help create a better understanding on the mise-en-scene that is seen in this movie. So, it can help to get more deeply knowledge of mise-en-scene through the discussion. This can help the further researcher to get better understanding on mise-en-scene.

Besides that, this research can helps to create a better understanding on ideological elements in ‘Titanic’. We can find out those ideological elements that were portrayed in this movie. So, I hope can get more knowledge about the class system in western last time.

Furthermore, this research also helps to expose which is the most preferred mise-en-scene elements when viewers watching the ‘Titanic’. Because this also one of the reason that make the ‘Titanic’ become successful.

1.7 Research Scope

This research will be done through focus group and content analysis. The target group is Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) student from age 18 to 25. The question will be designed base on the ‘Titanic’, and it will be posing to 5 students from Mass Communication Division under School of Social Science and Humanities (SSSH).

This study selected the sample from TARC Mass Communication student in SSSH that have watched the movie ‘Titanic’ since they are more major in media subject so that they can give more details answer toward the question.

For the content analysis, it will conduct the analysis through the blockbuster movie ‘Titanic’ that released at the year 1997. The five elements of mise-en-scene and the ideological applied will be analyzed through this film.

Mise-en-scene is a French word that means ‘what to put into the scene’. This is the design aspects of film production, means ‘visual theme’ or ‘telling a story’. There have five elements under the mise-en-scene which is setting, space, lighting, acting style and also costume. So, through the ‘Titanic’, researcher can find out these five mise-en-scene aspect in the film, so that the content analysis can be conduct smoothly.

According to John Hess (2005), Ideology is a systematic body of ideas, attitudes, values, and perceptions; such like the actual modes of thinking typical of a given class or group of people in a specific time and place. So, ideology in the film refers to what the ideas that the filmmakers want to portray in the particular film. The content of the film ‘Titanic’ is a suitable medium in order to conduct content analysis towards ideology in the film.

1.8 Summary

As a summary, the mise-en-scene is important to every movie production. Mise-en-scene can be applied in every movie, but the suitable mise-en-scene is the key to make the movie either failed or successful. After the movie released, the most important is the audience’s feedback and the impact of the film. Film scholar need to be more understanding towards the mise-en-scene in order to do the movie production in the future.