Citizen Kane

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Citizen Kane

By | December 2012
Page 1 of 3
Cinema 100
Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is hailed as one of the best films of all time, and with good reason. Citizen Kane is in the Film noire genre and is about Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), who is the owner of a huge media empire; He dies in his bedroom at his estate named Xanadu. Clutching onto a snow globe as he dies, Kane’s final word is “Rosebud.”A news reporter named Jerry Thompson (William Alland) is interested in the life and death of Kane, so he tries to find some extra information on him, especially the meaning of his final word. As Thompson interviews friends and lovers, the story of Kane is showed in a number of flashbacks from their point of view. The film also featured a number of cinematic innovations and techniques that are still influencing films and filmmakers to this day. One such technique used brilliantly in the movie is deep focus.

Deep focus means that everything is in the frame, even the background, in focus at the same time, as opposed to having only the people and things in the foreground in focus. The deep focus technique requires the cinematographer to combine lighting, composition, and type of camera lens to produce the wanted effect. With deep focus, a filmmaker can showcase overlapping actions. A good example of this comes early in the film, when Kane is only a small boy who is about to be taken away from essentially his childhood and family. He is outside in the snow, playing with his sleigh, while his mother is talking with Mr. Thatcher, the man who is going to take Charles in to live with him. There is a long continuous shot, in which you see the mother and Mr. Thatcher discussing the fate of Charles. The father tries to interfere with their discussion occasionally, but he is always silenced by Mrs. Kane, especially when told he will receive fifty thousand dollars a year for as long as he lives. After the camera has followed Mrs. Kane and Thatcher who sit down next to a table, Mrs. Kane and Mr. Thatcher are sitting...