The meaning of life in Black and White.

Orson Welles ” Citizen Kane” is an awesome movie in all respects. And usually opinions are not facts, they are just opinions of course, but in the case of Citizen Kane, this might be a fact. This movie is a is a 24 FPS piece of art and according to most movie critics, the best film ever made. But to most movie buffs, the reason is not mostly because of the story, but the actual film making techniques is what makes it a masterpiece. Orson Welles directed, starred and co wrote his first movie is part of what makes it impressive. Each scene is carefully assembled and edited by Welles down to the staging of the actors, giving each a message by forcing the audience to see the point of view of the director.

I have chosen one scene for my analysis and that is the scene where Charles Kanes mother gives him up to be sent to the east coast to be educated.

Three subject shot with deep focus.

Orson Welles starts the scene off with a younger Charles outside playing in the snow with his sled Rosebud unaware that his parents are going to give him up. This represents one of the few times the character is happy. As the camera pulls back, we then see the parents and the caretaker inside the house. Charles is at the center at first but as they enter the house, the mother takes center stage to signify the important character in the scene, like the staging of a play. This forces the audience to focus on her because this moment is pivotal to Charles life. The father is also mostly in the background and the left to represent how helpless and also how unimportant he is in Charles life. There is a moment where the caretaker is center stage and this represents the person who is now in charge of Charles life, but at the end of the scene, Charles resumes center stage in the background reminding us who the main subject is and also how he is helpless in determining his own fate, like his father.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The meaning of life in Black and White.

  1. lyoung101 says:

    Your spot on with the comment that the film is famous for its film-making techniques rather than its story. This has always been a little personal problem of mine, especially since Welles and Toland were NOT the first people to use several of these techniques. I understand that the way they used them as devices to tell the story was masterful and unheard of at the time but there are so many more films which are to me more affecting than this one. I know the visuals serve the plot and they did so marvelously here but this film has definitely garnered its reputation off of its cinematography and content always seemed to be the most important element to me.

  2. Lorena Russi says:

    It’s interesting that you mention that people say the movie isnt famous for it’s storyline. but what do you think of it? for me, despite the relatively slow pace, i really loved the movie as a whole. i feel that without the story and the complexities of kane as a character, the visuals wouldnt have come out as magnificent as they did

  3. alivingston says:

    Good Scene to analyze! You brought up a key point that this was one of the only scenes where Charles was truly happy. I also enjoyed how you broke down who was at the center of the scene (and in control) through each pivotal moment. Good post!

Comments are closed.