Citizen Kane
1. In class, we talked about the plot of the film and how Charles was portrayed as a communist and fascist. A good example of this would be when Kane loses the election. Drunken Leland even tells him that "you don't care about anything except yourself. You just wanna persuade people that you love them so much that they ought to love you back. Only you want on your own terms, something, to be played your way, according to your rules"(Simmons, 140). Another example of him trying to control everyone is the scene at the breakfast table. Emily is upset with what Charles is printing, but he doesn't care. He even says that he wants people to "think what I tell them to think"(Simmons, 143). He even prints that the Spanish Ships off New Jersey Coast in a headline, even though he was informed that there was no war. He just wants to be in control, specifically with the people. We also discussed the lighting techniques throughout the film. After the News on The March documentary was shown, this scene is very low key. This creates a lot of shadows to portray to the viewer that the characters in the scene are anonymous. When Kane is writing the Declaration of Principles, his face is engulfed in complete shadows. This shows that Charles does not take the principles seriously and is a foreshadowing of what is to become of Kane's character. We also talked about deep focus photography, which shows a great depth between people. Two examples of this is when Charles' parents are signing the document from Thatcher and when Susan is inside the fireplace doing a jigsaw puzzle. Charles is framed in a window in the far background playing in the snow, while his parents and Thatcher are inside. Charles is in the distance because he is about to be ripped away from his home. Susan is shown far away from Charles to show how their relationship is diminishing. Lastly, we talked about feminine and masculine. When Thatcher is introduced, there is a low angle shot of him as a statue and then cuts to library made of stone. This shows that Thatcher was a very strong, powerful person. When Emily is introduced, there is a close up painting of her face and then there is a transition of thunder and rain to the El Rancho sign. The close up shows that Emily is equally as important as Thatcher, but is an unstable person.

2. The article, Smoke and Mirrors in Citizen Kane, from Screen Education by Gary Simmons talks about the symbols, the adaptation of different genres, the use of flashbacks, and multiple narrators. This articled uses smoke and mirrors in this film to emphasize Kane's identity. Kane is reflected in mirrors to show how his identity is fragmented or split. Smoke is used during the end of the film to show how Kane's life is going up in smoke. The article also talks about a brief background of the film. Orson Welles made this film when he was twenty-five and was given free rein in making Citizen Kane because of his prodigious talent.  The film was based off the newspaper tycoon William Randolph and he built a newspaper empire very similar to the one in the film. He was immediately outraged and tried to buy the negatives from RKO studios. This article brings up a good point of how the film incorporated different film genres, like horror, film noir, psychological drama, and a biopic. The structure of the film gets more and more complex as it shows different sides of him depending on who is talking about him.  Using multiple narrators makes the film a jigsaw puzzle. Viewers must sort out Charles' life because it changes from one person's perspective to another's. Lastly, the article references the sequences in Citizen Kane that reveal Welle's "bag of cinematic tricks."Even though the aesthetics used in this film would be considered conventional today, they were very inventive and original during the time the film was made. These aesthetics would be the passage of time, foreshadowing, and deep focus.

3. The example in the film that shows how Kane's identity is fragmented or split is when Emily is leaving him. He walks past his staff and he is mirrored when he walks after her. When the sled with Rosebud inscribed into was burning, it creates a cloud of smoke to show how his life went up in smoke. Citizen Kane incorporates the horror genre in a few ways. When the film immediately opens, there is an erie atmosphere. There are a lot of shadows and the castle has a gothic style. Also there is a death in the beginning of the scene that is vague. The lighting during this scene takes the viewer into the dark. Film noir is the greatly focused on during this whole film. This style is predominately characterized by a detective solving a crime, darkness, and shadows. A viewer can see this through Thompson. Although he is not a detective, he does play the role in figuring out what the meaning of rosebud was. Thompson is constantly framed in half-light and from behind. He is also never the central subject of the camera lense and he is only glimpsed at. A couple examples of when he is framed in half-light and from behind is when he first goes to see Emily and talking to Leland in the nursing home. Only a glimpse of his face is seen when he goes to Thatcher's library to look at his diary on Charles. Also you first get a glimpse at him after the News On The March was finished playing. His face is only seen a little when the projector light hits it. It is a psychological drama through the snow globe. The snow globe is a fond memory of his in Colorado as a child until he was forced to leave. He carried the psychological scars of being ripped away from his family and losing his childhood. It is a biopic because this film is told through Leland, Emily, Bernstein, Susan, and Thatcher. An example of the passage of time would be the breakfast table scene. Every time the scenes cuts, Emily and Charles' relationship is getting worse and worse. At the beginning, they are sitting next to each other have a normal conversation. At the end, they are seen at the opposite ends of the table barely talking. An example of foreshadowing is when Susan attempts suicide. After Susan and Charles fight, the lighting is very bright, then flickers, and fades into darkness. This shows something bad is going to happen to Susan. Then the scene opens up to a glass with a spoon in it, an empty bottle, and Susan breathing heavily.  One example of deep focus, would be when Charles is finishing Leland's article. Bernstein is seen in the doorway of the office, Leland is to the right of Charles, and the shadowed Kane is in the front-left of scene.

4. For it's place in history, Citizen Kane had very advanced aesthetics. Even today, films are rarely seen with deep focus photography, which is very important. Even though the story line was very basic, it keeps the viewers on the edge of their seat. Orson Welles contributed a lot of different shots, which helped the viewer know who was in power and wasn't. Charles Foster Kane was seen a lot in low angle shots. Emily was seen a couple times in high angle shots. Also there are some extreme close ups to show importance. When Kane utters the word Rosebud, the shot is an extreme close of up of his mouth. Also when Thatcher wants Charles to leave Colorado with him, there is an extreme close up of his face. This emphasizes anger. In addition, Welles highlights the use of shadows. Thompson is almost never seen, which helps the viewer take the place of him. Very subtly, Orson Welles shows the passage of time without the viewers noticing a drastic change. Especially with the aging of Kane. He gradually become heavier, walks slower, and his hair recedes. What I really found interesting was the photographs of Kane in two scenes. The first one was when Thompson went to talk to Berstein. There is a huge picture of Kane above his fireplace. The second scene was during Kane's campaign. There is yet another poster of him when he is giving his speech. This emphasizes how Orson Welles wanted people to know Charles was in power over others and respected by some. This further aided in peoples understanding of Charles' personality other than the words and actions he did. Overall, I can see why this is one the best films. Orson Welles should be considered one of the masters of shadows and deep focus. On the other hand, the story adds up to the typical cliche of a mystery movie.

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