Analysis Of Orson Welles's Film Citizen Kane

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Art, film and literature allow composers to express universal ideas that are significant to the society in which they live and, more importantly, transcend their own context. Orson Welles’ 1941 film Citizen Kane incorporates innovative cinematographic techniques to create a film that has enduring relevance and textual integrity. This film-a-clef draws upon the life story of William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper mogul during his time to a fictional character, Charles Foster Kane. The corrupting nature of power and wealth, alienation and the unreliability of memory are some of the concepts that resonates with 21st century audience.
Individuals in society have faith in media and rely upon the fact that media outlets will present news accurately,
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Orson Welles 1941 film Citizen Kane highlights the use and exploitation of power through media, and the personal collapse that can emerge from it. The slow and methodical panning around Xanadu in the opening scenes of the film emphasises its size and emptiness builds tension as he becomes alienated because of his misuse of power. Kane didactic dialogue, “I’ve got to make the New York Inquirer as important to New York as the gas in that light”, along with turning the gas - lamp off symbolically foreshadows how his ambition to gain power will corrupt himself, society and his ethics. The ambiguous nature of morality is further emphasised when he signs “The Declaration of Principles”. The low camera angle and lighting accentuates the hollowness and flaws in the promises he makes. By doing so, Welles positions us to understand how power has the ability to corrupt individuals by giving a biased perspective upon a story like Mrs. Silverstone through media. Kane’s growing self-centeredness and self-delusion results in a decline of his moral values and objective, to which he ‘promised’ in the principles. Furthermore, the low …show more content…
In Citizen Kane, Welles characterises Kane as a wealthy and known newspaper mogul. However, despite his excess wealth, the audience is positioned to see Kane die lonely and isolated. Welles use of mise-en-abyme of Kane’s diminishing reflection in the Escher style mirrored doorway reflects the character’s own alienation despite being the embodiment of the Great American Dream. This visually symbolises his entrapment in the flawed ethos of the dream. The mirror scene exhibits multiple versions of Kane and the numerous perspectives that Welles presents in the film. In a way, it also ‘defines’ Kane as a character. By doing so, he positions the audience to understand how economic fortunes eventually does not provide eternal happiness. In addition to this, Greg Toland’s camera techniques position the audience to see the multifaceted nature of Charles Foster Kane in the mirrors is portrayed to be in a group during his youth. However, the Kane that we see in the foreground is isolated from everyone else. This demonstrates the gradual isolation which limits him from achieving the true essence of happiness. Furthermore, the emptiness in Kane’s private life is evident through the non-sequential analepsis that portray Kane’s disjointed life where no two ends meet and everything seems to be in tatters. Welles ' sustained use of flashbacks, achieved through

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