Mise en scène can be easily defined as what you see on the screen. This is not just the props, actors, or costumes, but also the lighting. In this blog we will explore the lighting in the movie, We Were Soldiers.
In this movie there is a wide variety of lighting used. High key during the bright sunny day, Low key in the dark of night. Fill and back lights were used to simulate lamps in the house, street lights, and also the lights on the base. One of the scenes with the use of backlight is where the cab driver is knocking on the door to ask for assistance in finding an address to deliver a telegram regarding the loss of a soldier.
Three point lighting, as well as underlighting and over head lighting were also used. These lighting sources were made to look very natural and realistic. One of the many scenes with the use of overhead lighting sources, made to simulate natural outdoor light, is on the base as one of the privates is running in the morning and salutes.
Color was used in a variety of ways and brought great drama to many scenes. In one profound scene in particular saturation is used to bring great emotion. This scene is where the helicopter pilot is rinsing the blood out of the inside of the chopper after airlifting wounded and deceased soldiers from the battlefield for many hours. The scene is dark and dramatic. You see the sea of red being washed from the inside of the chopper. Low key lighting was used in most all of the battlefield scenes.
The lighting director had a very challenging job in this movie due to the amount of camera angles, and every type of lighting scene imaginable.