How the Use of Ensemble Staging Techniques in Movies Subtly Shows the Audience Where to Look

In the latest episode of his fantastic series Every Frame a Painting, filmmaker Tony Zhou explains the concept of ensemble staging in movies and how this technique subtly points where the audience needs to look without using closeups. In order to demonstrate his point, Zhou focused on scenes from the 2003 Bong Joon-ho film Memories of Murder.

How do you emphasize to the audience that something is important? Well, you could always cut to a close-up, but how about something subtler? Today I consider ensemble staging — a style of filmmaking that directs the audience exactly where to look, without ever seeming to do so at all.