May 14, 2012
Elements of Film
1. “Citizen Kane” is one of the most influential films ever made. Discuss this statement.
The film “Citizen Kane” is considered one of the most influential films because it used film techniques that had never been used before and in many ways was before its time. The photography in this film builds Kane’s character. The shadowing of Kane’s face creates and ominous aspect and a feeling of unease. The deep focus shots in this film creates emotional tension between characters as well as the use of low angle shots in the movie. Even the movement of the camera itself tells a story. Slow camera movement is used in shots where Kane is older and a quicker movement when he is younger. Another aspect of this movie that made it so great was the use of nonlinear storytelling. The movement of the story from different years gives the story an interesting prospective.
2. What had Orson Welles done in his first 23 years of life to warrant the Hollywood film industry offering complete control to a first time filmmaker?
By the time he was 23 Orson Welles had already directed several plays including Voodoo Macbeth, Horse Eats Hat, and The Second Hurricane for the Federal Theatre Project. After resigning from the Federal Theatre Orson formed the Mercury Theatre and became the executive producer. In 1938 Welles read a radio adaption of The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. This reading gave Welles instant fame and caused panic and confusion among many listeners who had not heard the introduction and believed there had been a Martian invasion. All of these accomplishments proved Welles to be a very creative and talented man who could have a bright future in film.
3. Pick an extended scene or sequence from “Citizen Kane” and discuss the storytelling technique by analyzing any combination of its component parts.
The scene in which Kane writes and signs his declaration of principles is the scene I chose to analyze. I enjoy this scene because the use of foreshadowing. When Kane reads his principles out loud his face is completely shadowed until after he signs the paper. This shadowing of the face shows that these principles might not be something that stays with Kane throughout the movie.