Citizen Kane is filmed as a series of long takes, composed in-depth to eliminate the necessity for narrative cutting within major dramatic scenes. The film uses very little shot/counter-shot. Why is this so important to the way we experience the film visually? 

Why is this important to the content of the film? 
Do the multiple perspectives bring us closer to or further away from the truth? 
Do the individual narratives distinctively differ? Are they all Welles/Toland’s visions or do they show individual narrators’ perspectives? 
Do the perspectives of the individual narrators always make sense? That is, would Susan know the content of her own narrative? Would Jed have access to the information in his narrative? 
Do the narratives work with each other or contradict each other? 
Do the more subjective narratives support or refute the newsreel? 
Does the answer to Rosebud tell us anything? everything? nothing? 
Why don’t we get to see the reporters’ faces? 
How is the film prophetic? Does it shed any light on the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, for instance? 
Can you see the influence of Citizen Kane on the films we’ve seen this semester, particularly Sunset Blvd.
What other films do you know that have been influenced by Citizen Kane? 
How are windows used in the film? 
How would you describe the acting in the film? 
What does the film have to say about the relationship between the sexes? 
How does the film help us to think about today’s media? Does it shed light on Fox News? The internet? Etc. 
Orson Welles made this film, his first and greatest, at age 25. Why is it important that this film was directed, written, and acted in by a young man?
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19 Responses to Citizen Kane: Questions for Reflection


    Though I have become accustomed to classic films throughout this semester, I find the acting in Citizen Kane quite different from the others. That is not to say that the acting is sub par, or not even that do not like it. There is something very theatrical about it, as if this were being performed on stage. I believe that if I saw a stage production of Citizen Kane with the same actors, it would much more enjoyable. The more intimate scenes feel forced. The actors voices are very pronounced, boisterous, and the tone is very even for the most part. There also does not seem to be natural pauses. Everything is fast paced, quick draw, and witty. Since I enjoy film and television so much, I often watch behind the scenes footage. Much of this film reminds me of rushed table reads.

    It seems to me that many of the actors in this film are not comfortable with the cameras focusing on their faces. Many times throughout the film there were scenes where two to four men would be having a fast-paced conversation which usually ended abruptly. There was not a smooth segue but rather the camera would pan in on a character, who often looked uncomfortable and sometimes even shaky and then cut to the next scene.

    Another instance that reminded me of stage theater was the dinner scene with music and dancing. It literally seemed like a choreographed musical number. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it—I did. I found it to be really fun, interesting, and unexpected. It brought light to an otherwise very serious and complex film.


    I cannot say enough about Citizen Kane in this post, so I’ll just pick one thing that blew my mind and talk about that.

    Out of all of the scenes, no other scene matches how amazing it was to see an elderly Kane walking in front of a double mirror to find himself infinitely multiplied. As an old man who is defeated from years of loveless marriage, false happiness, political mishaps, and a complete departure from his ethical compass in his media empire, Kane is cast infinitely in all directions as he stares dejectedly at his aging reflection staring back at him. This structural element communicated the duplicity of Kane’s entire existence and the millions of personalities and roads that have transpired from these indiscretions. As an old man, he no longer knows who the true Charles Kane is—that man has long since been diluted by the very man himself. This gorgeous scene communicates all of this without a single world. All it takes is Kane’s glance at his reflection to see how far he has come and how much has changed in his life. When I saw this scene, I literally gasped because I thought it was so cool. Welles’ use of this technique says so much about Kane without saying anything at all. He is not one man with a happy ending. He is frayed in infinite directions, doomed to reconcile with himself the shortcomings he could never admit.

    On his deathbed he utters “Rosebud.” A word that could mean literally anything–a memory of his childhood, the happiest moment of his life, a symbol of his distempered youth…the word Rosebud could mean everything, and yet, nothing…just like Kane’s existence itself.

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