CITIZEN KANE

October 4, 2010 | | 6 Comments

I screened Citizen Kane twice this week and just like professor Herzog said something new can be seen every time. Orson Welles coming from a broadcasting and theatrical background and having never directed a feature film before explains why he would be so experimental. When you don’t know that something can not be done you try doing it and Welles did exactly that with this film and accomplished it. The story, and acting in this film I believe is just secondary to the mise-en-scene of lighting, sound, and placement of actors and props in the frame. Orson Welles used everything at his disposal to tell the story and to keep our eyes and minds intrigued. From the beginning scenes when the camera is just panning over the exterior of Xanadu Mansion, the way every shot included the mansion in the far background it made it clear that it was a monstrously big structure. For all we know the mansion in the background of all those shots is probably just a small model but the way the camera shows it so far away but we can still make out more then just the silhouette the audience can only imagine how big it is.

The scene with the reporters screening the news reel of Kane’s life is so so so fascinating, because it does not seem under exposed, it just seems like the reporters effortlessly avoid the light that is practically shinning over them from the projector. We can not see the reporters faces so it gives of many emotions I am trying to figure out if they like Kane or hate him or just wanna sell papers or are they really federal agents passing as reporters to get the truth about Kane.

Now the best shot to me has to be when kane looses his political campaign and the extreme low angle shot only captures his foot to the top of his angle but if you look closely the camera catches a piece of confetti blowing in front of the camera and I do not think that was not intentional it actually emphasizes how low the camera is. Professor Hiris who teaches Medst 200 stated that during production they had to cut a hole in the floor so the camera could shoot from beneath floor level. How creative and experimental is that always thinking different and trying everything to get results, that is why I believe this film is great.

As for catching new things every time I watch this film, this time I noticed that when Kane comes back from overseas and announces he is getting married and receives a trophy from his staff when he leaves and they are all watching him from the window. Kane tries to give the trophy to someone not caring what it meant not caring his staff of working men gave him an award for being a great man and he disregards it but when he realizes he is being watched he takes the trophy back and acts as if he really appreciates it. I believe that seen is when his “declaration of principles” went out the window. Also the piece of confetti is not something I noticed the first time I screened the film.

I always wonder how this film would be if it was made today for the first time with all the advantages of technology. If Orson Welles found creativity with the very limited resources of the time could you imagine what he could do with a budget and equipment available today… A film major could only dream.

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6 Comments so far

  1.    njdonofrio on October 5, 2010 9:36 pm

    Great post. I was just wondering how you think modern technology would affect/change Citizen Kane…do you think Orson Wells would have been able to make the film/get away with it? It’s something I’ve never thought of before, and I’d love to hear what you have to say…

  2.    Rachael Rudman on October 10, 2010 5:56 pm

    Your take on Citizen Kane is so innovative and so true. I agree as well that if Orsen Welles was here today making films, he would have so many great ideas to create with all different kinds of new technology.

  3.    Amy Herzog on October 12, 2010 10:23 pm

    As much as new technology might make a director’s job easier, I’m actually glad Welles and Toland had to work so hard to create their vision within limited means. I think that a scarcity of technology can force a filmmaker to think more creatively (think of the use of off-screen space in M). If everything is instantly available, it’s easy to get lazy. So many films with the most sophisticated CGI are terribly written. Basic storytelling beats expensive technology every time, in my opinion!

  4.    nyminded on October 13, 2010 2:39 am

    I absolutely agree that directors today especially with CGI (which I hate) green screen and all of that is not what would make a better Citizen Kate. I am thinking more in the lines of cameras that can shoot in higher resolutions, all of the available lenses that can create greater depth of field, or telephoto lenses, all of these elements I think Orson Welles would go wild with. If he created such depth in the scene when Thatcher is speaking to his parents, and in the scene when he is arguing with Thatcher about the Inquirer, I can just imagine those scenes being shot with The Red how he could blur out certain characters and then bring them back into focus, which he did but now it would look so much sharper and in something so simple like COLOR. I love black and white as much as the next Film student but just imagine the the wardrobe putting some color to the pinstripe suits and pocket squares, and OH man the art work he collects just imagine all of those sculptures and paintings if we could see the paint the clay. I guess I would say Orson Welles would be what Scorsese is today and definitely not a James Cameron.

  5.    Yongyi Mo on October 22, 2010 4:23 am

    I didn’t really like “Citizen Kane” when I first watch it, either. However, after I watch it again, this film seems to inspire its audiences to think the meaning of life. I especially like its flashback cinematography which tells me the different views of Kane from his friends and women. The answer of his dying word “rosebud” made me think about how we identify other people by what we seeing them—they are might be entirely different from our assumptions.

  6.    rank on April 13, 2017 1:52 pm

    rank

    NEW YORK MINDED

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