Sep 29 2010

Comments on ‘Citizen Kane’

Published by at 9:48 pm under Uncategorized

I have watched ‘Citizen Kane’ for two times. At the first time, I didn’t really like the movie at all because of those people talking in high pitch, they were talking so loudly and made me feeling sick…But today, after I followed what Prof. Herzog had asked me to do – be aware of the overlapping dialogue, deep focus, unreliable narrators, temporal jumps and why call Citizen Kane as American Baroque, I watched it in a different way.

It started with a morose sense. Things around the Xanadu were creepy and dark, like hell.

Talking about overlapping dialogue, most of it was used when people were arguing. I think with using it, it can show whose speech is most important in a scene and who is in charge of that situation, so it can also show how important one is during the arguing/ in a scene.

For deep focus, I did found a lot of it, but almost every scenes in the movie was ‘deep focus‘… In one of the interviews we were assigned to read before the movie, Welles said he used to talk a lot about ‘giving the audience the choice’, but when he made the movie, he didn’t talk much. He used it a lot but he also used something else to make certain actor be a focus: lighting, hair style, color of clothes and position. Honestly, I am very impressed by the use of the color of clothes. I mean, when there were many people in a scene, usually the protagonist was in white clothes or the lighting mainly focused on him/her.

And I think at the beginning of and at the end of the movie, it showed the Xanadu (the castle). I think it’s kind of like ‘we exit where we enter’.

For Kane’s dying word – ‘rosebud’, I don’t really get it. Maybe he was missing how innocent he used to be before he left his parent or something, I don’t know.

Didn’t it first show a newsreel about Kane? I think showing how generally Kane’s life was is a good arrangement so when people are watching, they may not be confused by the time order – ‘temporal jumps’.

Scene with using the color of clothes:

Baroque style:

 I am not sure if they are in Baroque style.


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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Comments on ‘Citizen Kane’”

  1.   cjenkinson 01 Oct 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Rosebud was the name of the sled he had as child. And I think your right about him missing his childhood. Everything was so much less complicated when he has child. He probably wishes that he could go back in time to change things. He was more free then. He didnt have to worry about women, money, or politics; those things which gave his life stress. But I dont think hes any different from most people. Who doesn’t wish they could go back to a simpler fun time.

  2.   Sinyee Cindy Leungon 01 Oct 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Actually, I dont really understand that why he could change from an ambitious business man to a man without any goals and only cared about women and money. I mean, couldnt he (or everyone) just stay being ambitious all the time? Maybe this is just like death, a spirit of chasing something is meant to be faded away when you are getting older.

  3.   njdonofrioon 05 Oct 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Great post!

    Kane is a very complicated character who goes through a lot of changes in the course of the film. Being taken away from his mother at the beginning really affected him, which is part of the reason why “Rosebud” became such a big deal for him: it became a sign of his lost childhood and innocence. He seems to go through these drastic changes in the process of trying to find love and happiness and innocence that he lost when he was a child. He tries money, power, women, art, wealth, and everything at his house Xanadu, but he never finds his happiness, dying alone, thinking only of the childhood innocence he lost (Rosebud).

    I like your comments about deep focus and the Baroque style.

  4.   Jenny Luon 12 Oct 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Cindy I like how your so honest in the beginning of your post. This was my second time watching Citizen Kane. The first time I watched this film, it left me astonished and puzzled at the same time. I really do think you need to watch this film more then once to get a solid understanding of it. The term “Rosebud” which was Kane’s childhood sled, symbolized his loss of innocence, having to mature at an early age and the people he left behind such as his parents. I think that because of these components Kane was always seeking love, praise and admiration from the public. I don’t think that Kane truly knew how to love a person, and he was doing all the wrong things to try and keep Susan. I felt so sad at the end of the movie. 🙁 I really don’t think he deserved to die alone.

  5.   Amy Herzogon 13 Oct 2010 at 12:34 pm

    What beautiful observations– so glad you brought up the clothing, which is used to such great effect in directing our attention.

    The question of the Baroque is pretty open-ended. There’s no correct answer here, but I did find it interesting to think about the comparison some critics made between the film and the earlier artistic period. At the very least it might help us to think about the way he uses composition in such complicated ways.

    And yes, I agree that his use of overlapping dialogue helps to define questions of power and authority, just as the visual elements do.

  6.   maya1on 13 Oct 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I agree with you that its hard to tell what Rosebud truly means after you watch it. its supposed to stay with you a while. i also liked what you said about xanadu and that we exit where we enter because i noticed the same thing. the first shot is of xanadu and the final shot is of xanadu.

  7.   IJon 15 Oct 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I found what you said about the overlapping dialogue interesting. Every argument isn’t an actor just saying his line when it’s his turn, instead it’s more of a realistic power struggle.
    The opening scene showing Xanadu definitely gives off a bad vibe. It’s one of the creepiest houses in film history (Norman Bates’ house in Psycho is on top of that list). I never thought about the fact that the movie opens and closes with Xanadu. Maybe Welles wants us to leave the movie with the same creepy feeling we entered it.

  8.   Yongyi Moon 22 Oct 2010 at 4:26 am

    Kane’s Xanadu is huge and luxury, but the darkness also implied the loneliness of his heart. I felt depressed when I saw Susan aimlessly playing puzzle in the empty place. A deep focus was everywhere in this film. I like the scene where Kane’s parents were deciding their son’s future in the tiny house. All the characters had a sharp focus to show their faces, and the contrast implied Kane’s fate and foreshadowed the loss of his innocent.

  9.   Zarraf Choudhuryon 26 Oct 2010 at 10:45 am

    Going back to what you said about the beginning scene and end scenes that took place in and around Xanadu being like ‘we exit where we enter’, this could be used with Kane’s final scenes. He entered this particular world of wealth and power by being forcibly removed away from his mother and being taken away from his sled. He ‘exits’ the movie by holding on to his snow globe and stating the sled’s name- Rosebud. It seems like a cycle.

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