Citizen Kane is a film about an investigation into the newspaper giant Charles Kane. A reporter has been assigned to decode Kane’s dying words. His investigation into the newspaper giant reveals a very confusing man who rose to power from insignificance.
Although the reporter is digging through Kane’s past life and interviewing his Colleagues and his family he feels that he will not be able to break through the mystery that is Kane and the word ‘Rosebud’.
1. In the film Citizen Kane, a lot of aspects of his life are represented through the settings. An example of this is the ceiling in the Inquirer. The room cannot hold the amount of personality that Kane gives of but yet the Mansion (Xanadu) represents his isolation and loneliness.
2. Apart from the setting, Staging is a very fundamental tool that Welles manages to incorporate into the film and uses the great depth of field to his advantage. This is captured by cinematographer Gregg Toland. There is a lot of movement going on and an example of this is in the ‘boarding house’ scene. Here is captured the deep focus were a lot of relationships are at play.
3. Cinematography (camerawork) works very closely with the director. It is the method of catching moving images on film. These images are then manipulated to the story.
Citizen Kane is a film based a lot around the deep focus shots. This includes foreground shots, mid-ground shots and back-ground shots.
4. Cinematography, especially in the early 1900’s had access to limited stock film which didn’t allow for much depth of field. In contrast with the different types of film stock,
Toland also uses different types of camera angles to give different effects, for example a low angle shot in the Inquirer office which captures the ceiling and represents his confinement.
5. In the Film, Welles uses a lot of Fades in and out as well as dissolves. A dissolve is when one scene is overlapped with another, which leads one image to fade out and to fade in to the next scene. Welles mainly used this technique when there were flashbacks of Kane.
6. Another form of editing that Welles uses in his film is inserts. Inserts is a brief shot of a close up of an important prop. The use of inserts in this film is to catch the eye of the audience and to explain the imageries or symbolism that is being portrayed in the scene. COMM101 Assignment 1
7. Welles in the film uses both diegetic (part of the story) and non-diegetic (External sounds). There are three type of sound used in the film industry: speech, music and noise. These are all called sound effects. An example of non-diegetic sound is in the breakfast scene were the music changes from romantic to sombre.
8. Diegetic sound is used in the harshness of the Inquirer office, whereas echoes are used in the vast empty halls of Kane’s mansion (Xanadu). These symbolise the confinement of Kane when he is in the Inquirer office to the Loneliness when he is the mansion on his own.
COMM101 Assignment 1
Taking into account the different formal elements that you've already analysed, how does the order advance the story and themes of the film as a whole?
The 1941 film Citizen Kane by Orson Welles had hit heights that no other film had in its era.
The most unique and most substantial advancement was that in the cinematography. Deep
Focus is when everything is in one shot. This included having the background in the same shot at the same time as everything else. This eliminated the shot of only having people in the foreground and not having all the elements of the film that were necessary to the scene out of the frame. Deep focus is a technique that requires a lot of elements in order to achieve the anticipated effects. With this taken into account a lot of the other essential film techniques become more important, one being Mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene is the