This is Sparta!!!!

May 22, 2013

300 mise-en-scene analysis

Filed under: —— Christopher Hayes @ 3:18 pm



The Dominant 

The dominant in this photo is the character Xerxes

  1. Size. Xerxes stands far taller than Leonidas and is overshadowing him.
  2. Focus. Xerxes is one of the only two objects in focus in the photo.
  3. Lighting. Xerxes is more brightly lit than Leonidas.
  4. Color. Xerxes gold jewelry gives him a god like luster, which is eye catching.

Lighting Key

This is an example of a high key lighting. The sky behind Xerxes and Leonidas exhibit large amounts of light to coincide with Xerxes luster from all the gold he is wearing.

Shot and Camera Proxemics 

This is a close up shot. The characters are shown from shoulder level up.

Camera Angle

This is an eye level shot. This is a normal shot of Leonidas and Xerxes.

Color Values

This scene, and much of this movie in fact, isn’t big on color. There seems to be a golden aura surrounding Xerxes due to his “divine power.”


Most likely there is a telephoto lens being used here. Because this shot doesn’t carry much depth and Leonidas and Xerxes are in focus.

Subsidiary Contrasts 

King Leonidas is the subsidiary contrast in this shot. Due to the fact that he is standing so close to Xerxes,the dormant, he’s easily the second thing to be noticed. Also Leonidas is relatively the only other object in the shot.


This shot isn’t very dense because the shot is too close up to Leonidas and Xerxes to see much of anything else.


This shot has a binary composition. Leonidas and Xerxes seem parallel to one another.


This shot is open form. This is a simple shot in open space and all the information isn’t given in the shot because of Xerxes throne being partially cut off up top.


The framing in this shot is tight. Xerxes contact of Leonidas by placing his hands on Leonidas’s shoulder doesn’t give the feel that these characters are able to move about freely.

Depth of Field 

This shot is shallow. Only one plane is in focus which is Leonidas and Xerxes, the rest of the scene isn’t noticeable.

Character Placement

Leonidas is centered and Xerxes is more towards the edge. This could perhaps demonstrate the brave demeanor of Leonidas and the fear of Xerxes.

Staging Positions

Both characters are shown in full-front. Leonidas and Xerxes are both facing the camera.

Character Proxemics 

The distance in this shot is intimate. There is contact in the shot as Xerxes places his hands on Leonidas’s shoulders as an act of intimidation.
The key factors in this shot is the lighting and the close up shot. The lighting is key because Xerxes claims himself to be a God king rival to no other. Xerxes is heavily illuminated with gold n shine to give him an God like luster. Spartan culture is almost purely militaristic, therefore, Leonidas and his men do not fear the God king thus why his back is turned confidently. The lack of color indicates the continued theme of war. As everyone should know there’s nothing bright about war, war is very dark and mischievous and the best way to illuminate the concept of war is to have a lot of substance besides the war itself. The concentration needs to be on the actual soldiers compact instead of background scenery. In the case of Xerxes he’s not a soldier King like Leonidas, Xerxes is a “God” King, therefore he is displayed in a gold aurora as if Xerxes is above human war.

The close up at this moment represents the two powers presented in the war. At this moment the war is at its midway point and Leonidas is confident that his Spartans can actually win. Thus when you look at Leonidas and Xerxes facial expressions, there’s two men who posses overwhelming egos in different ways alluding to both loving what they do. The two men are about a foot away from each other in distance this is important because a “God” King like Xerxes would never come that close to an opponent in war, he would watch from a distance. Therefore, 300 does an excellent job of showing how much concern the Spartans gave Xerxes due to the fact that he was willing to meet with Leonidas and show “mercy” by asking for his surrender. In this close up shot Xerxes is touching Leonidas which opposes the thought he is an untouchable “God” king. Thus giving Leonidas the dominance between the two men.

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