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The Contribution of Mise-En-Scene to the Central Conflict within Crimes and Misdemeanors by Chris Faris In Woody Allens Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989 two parallel stories revolve about a central conflict portraying the human dilemma of making moral or spiritually guided choices versus exercising free will Within this conflict lie issues of the unfairness of life marital infidelity jealousy and guilt The parallel lives of the two main characters reflect two different approaches in making life choices yet result in similarly empty outcomes Mise-en-scene relates significantly to the portrayal of the conflict and the consequences of the choices made At a dramatic level is the story of Dr Judah Rosenthal a wealthy respected Jewish ophthalmologist who is married but having an affair with a flight attendant Pressure from Dolores his girlfriend forces him to choose ending the affair in a moral but damaging way to his marriage telling his wife or engaging in immoral illegal means to resolve the dilemma murdering Dolores This story line represents the crimes aspect of the movies title At a more comedic but no less conflictual level is the story of Clifford Stern a highly principled documentarian whose conflict is whether to deviate from his lifes work of documenting a philosophers life to obtain financial security by chronicling his brother-in-law Lesters superficial and egotistical career as a TV producer Though married his choice is made largely because of a budding relationship with an admiring production assistant Mise-en-scene relates to the central conflict in the films narrative by creating for viewers the perception of the realistic everyday nature of these human choices It also adds significantly to viewers understanding of the depth of the characters reactions to the consequences of their choices Much of the mise-en-scene in the movie is found in sets and props The definition of the central conflict is creatively expressed by the use of the set of a movie theater Clifford takes his
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