Citizen Kane “the best film of the 20th century” according to the AFI and many other film organizations. André Bazin describes this film as “a discourse on method”. What Bazin is basically trying to say is that Citizen Kane is a technical movie for its time. Citizen Kane is a realistic film and it is number one because of it's cinematography, the framing, editing, kinetics, storytelling, soundtrack and it's overall message.
Citizen Kane's photography was not like most films of their era. The aspects of different ways of shooting wasn't anything new but the use of them was very different. Scenes changed in lighting as Kane ages throughout the movie starting very bright mostly through his youth and as he aged it became darker. According to Louis Giannetti, “High key in those scenes depicting his youth... Kane's home, the palatial Xanadu, seems steeped in perpetual night.(Giannetti 489).” Also as Kane aged he became slower in his movements through the film.A major portion of the photography is linked to mise en scene.
Citizen Kane was created by Orson Welles who was great at staging an action theatrically. The mise en scene was “tightly framed and closed form”(Giannetti 492). Depth was used many times throughout the movie. For example scenes when Kane's parents are signing documents to send him off to school in the foreground, middle ground is Kane senior and the background is young Kane playing outside. Shots taken through the broken snow globe and through mirrors were also very significant to Citizen Kane's one of a kind performance.
Citizen Kane's is famous for its sound layering but I would not have been possible if Orson Welles was not part of radio before hand. Welles thought each shot had a specific sound. As claimed by Giannetti;
Each of the shots, for example, has an appropriate sound quality involving
volume, degree of definition and texture. Long and extreme long shot sounds are
fuzzy and remote; close-up sounds are crisp, clear and...
Cited: Giannetti, Louis D. "Chapter 12: Synthesis Citizen Kane." Understanding Movies. 12th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2011. 486-519. Print.
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