Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew K. Gold

Subject Categories

Film and Media Studies


Tableau Vivant, Yellow Man, Miscegenous, Poetic, Freeze Frame, Griffithian, Orientalism, Salammbo.


D.W. Griffith's (January 22, 1875–July 23, 1948), one of the iconic American film directors of early silent cinema, felt his film Broken Blossoms (1919) to be his one art film and is considered to be an exemplary film in Tableaux Vivants[1] usage. When this Tableau skillfully employed, the effect can be dramatic, for it bridges the gap between theatre, sculpture, literature, and poetry. To better understand how Tableau works in Broken Blossoms, this study intends to analyze several scenes by showing how Griffith employs innovative film techniques within scenes through bodily gestures, motifs, and poetic stanzas to skillfully describe the language of cinema through visual information.

[1] A tableau vivant (often shortened to tableau, plural: tableaux vivants), French for 'living picture', is a static scene containing one or more actors or models. They are stationary and silent, usually in costume, carefully posed, with props and/or scenery, and may be theatrically lit. For further reading of Tableau Vivant, see chapter 1of this thesis.