Citizen Kane – A Masterpiece

In 1941, Orson Welles released an absolute masterpiece, unquestionably one of the greatest  films of all time. Telling the story of newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane through a reporter’s investigation into the meaning of his last word before dying, “Rosebud”, Citizen Kane employed radically new forms of cinematography, mise-en-scene and storytelling techniques. The film was an artistic combination of techniques that was something no one had ever seen before, and even to this day are striking and captivating.

Personally, I was especially intrigued by the noticeable angles in many shots. Many scenes employ extremely low-angle shots, that allows the audience to see even up to the ceiling. These low-angle shots were often used when displaying powerful figures, like Kane himself. It makes him look bigger and intimidating, whereas weaker individuals are shot from high-angles to symbolize their lowness. Aside from this interesting symbolic effect, the low-angles make the settings much more interesting. Spaces seem immense with magnificent ceilings and interesting perspectives.

Another impressive aspect of the film is its use of make-up. Kane is shown throughout the film in different ages, from a boy to a young man, to an adult and as an elder. Given the film is 75 years old, I was amazed by how the artists were able to make Welles age so convincingly. Kane’s entire body and face aged flawlessly and convincingly.

These are just two elements that struck me most, but frankly, the entire film is filled with amazing, innovative, and radical techniques. Aside from being an interesting and entertaining story, watching this film is essential if you want to truly understand and appreciate film art. I could not recommend it enough.

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One thought on “Citizen Kane – A Masterpiece

  1. Great post. I have to agree with you on many of these aspects. It seems it was amazing to see all of the make-up and filming techniques used in this film. Just like some of the other films we have seen, it is really surprising how well some of these older films hold up. I have been shooting some stuff for classes this semester and having never done it before I am blown away by some of the stuff I do. I feel this way because it seems that growing up in a world of TV and film, techniques are subconsciously picked up from what we view. Everyone probably just takes all that knowledge for granted. But to think that these techniques (such as with shooting angles or story telling) actually had to be learned and perfected over the years… I am definitely starting to learn in this class why some older movies are considered the “greats.” Im thinking it’s the new options and techniques that they brought to the world of cinema to help evolve it into what it is today.

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