Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Elements of Film Final

Katlyn Alix
Elements of Film Final

1.             Citizen Kane created quite the buzz when it debuted in 1941. The film was nominated for Acedemy Awards in nine categories and won the award for best original screenplay. In addition Citizen Kane has been voted the greatest film of all time in each of the last five sights and sounds polls of critics. Roger Ebert has been quoted as stating, "So it's settled, Citizen Kane is the official greatest film of all time."
             This film is praised for its innovation in cinematography sound, and narrative structure. The story was principally narrated by flashbacks which was a novel way to depict a film.  The story is revealed by the research of a reporter who is trying to solve the mystery of  Mr. Kanes’ last word, "Rosebud". This was one of the first uses of a Frame story or a story within a story. The frame story makes the film more interesting and dynamic. Creating a film biography in which a man's life would be brought to the screen after his death through the memories and opinions of the people who knew him best, was ingenious.
            The most innovative cinematography aspect of Citizen Kane is the extended use of deep focus. In nearly every scene in the film, the foreground, background and everything in between are all in sharp focus. Another innovation was the use of low angle shots to display a point of view facing upwards making the scenes look like they were all shot on location. Musically the field had a very complex layered soundtrack. The film also pioneered the technique of putting the audio ahead of the visual in scene transitions.  This meant, as one scene would end, the audio would transition to the next scene before the visuals did.

2.            Orson Wells became involved in with the arts at a young age. He discovered his love of theater at Todd School in Illinois, where he learned a great deal about film production and directing. Welles performed and staged his first theatrical productions while attending the Todd School. A few years after graduating Orson wells became a drama coach at the Todd School. Afterward he coedited Everybody's Shakespeare series of educational books that remained in print for decades. Welles drew a great deal of attention in 1937 with a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar set in Fascist Italy and a voodoo-themed version of Macbeth.
 Well’s made his Broadway debut with Katharine Cornell's company in 1934. The following year he managed a unit of the Federal Theatre Project, one of the work-relief arts projects established to spark economic recovery. Afterwards he organized plays at the Mercury Theatre, and had a number of successful show he helped direct and stared in. Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of the novel The War of the Worlds performed for the radio drama series Mercury theatre on air In his first 23 years of life he demonstrated his creative ingenuity and ability to act in, organize, write, and direct theatre productions.

3.     The story telling technique used in the very last scene of the film was symbolism.  In this scene the detective is working on a jig saw puzzle.  Kane’s life was symbolized by this jig saw puzzle. The detective tried to put all the pieces of his life together in order to get a picture of the kind of man Kane was. Each person he interviewed gave a different piece of the puzzle. They offered their own interpretation of who Kane was.  A woman in the scene indicated that she felt  Kane’s last word, rosebud was the key to making sense of who he was. The detective explained no single word can explain a man’s life, rosebud is just a missing piece in the puzzle. The difficulty of a jig saw puzzle mirrors the difficulty of interpreting a man’s life. Rosebud may symbolize his childhood that was ripped away from him at an early age. His early childhood was the only time in his life when he was really happy. Despite Kane’s immense wealth and innumerable possessions the rosebud sled may be the only thing he truly loved.
             The camera movement in the final scene helps to bring the narrative to a close.  Deep focus was used to bring everything in the frame into focus including the backround. This helped give the viewer a sense of the huge number of Kane’s possessions. The high angle shots of the reporters makes them seem small compared to the scope of the great room. The camera pans over thousands of objects as if searching for something. The close up shot of the sled in the fire reveals the mystery of the word rosebud. The last scene is very film noir with the use of low lighting and shadow to create a dark, moody and mysterious atmosphere; with the K sign fence in the foreground and Xanadu looming in the background.

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