Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Elmnaz Shahbali

Elmnaz Shahbali Gargari


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Werner Nell

Project: Semiotization of visual art in contemporary cinema

Elmnaz Shahbali is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School “Society and  Culture in Motion” and at the School of Philology, Communication Studies  and Music of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. She  graduated from the University of Tabriz, Iran, in 2011 with an  undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature. In 2017, she  received her Master’s degree in Intercultural Anglophone Studies from  the University of Bayreuth, Germany. She has worked as a student  assisstant for Prof. Dr. Susan Arndt at BIGSAS in 2014 and 2016 and at  the ALA in 2015.


D.W. Griffith, the prominent  filmmaker, by  emphasizing the visual strength of cinema states, “The  task I’m trying  to achieve above all is to make you see”. Over the  course of the  history, the visual nature of art has granted the artists  a frame to  portray their objective nonverbally, sometimes even  emotions or  behaviors that were unconventional or taboo therefore,  “pictures [could]  show what words could never convey” (Coleman). In  other words, art has  always served as an ideal platform to conceal and  reveal the artists’  messages in order to protect them in the societies  where they could be  punished for their prohibited intentions. As a  matter of fact, nonverbal  communication was the quintessential tool for  them to signal their  messages indirectly. Hence, visual art has been  the sine qua non of  filmmaking process and filmmakers benefit from  cinematographic  techniques and mise en scene to capture their ideal  image in order to  immerse the audience. The aim of this project is to  study the visual  features of contemporary cinema, focussing on fashion,  colors and  camera-framing.