Citizen Kane (1941)

Orson Welles has simply delivered a masterpiece with Citizen Kane. And that is quite a feat, especially during war-torn Europe in 1941! The film has been recorded almost entirely in studios. Fantastic acting, but also the way of filming and the (for that time) quick change of shots create a story that fascinates from start to finish. A new standard has been set with Citizen Kane. The method of filming was subsequently adopted by greats such as Hitchcock (who never hid his admiration for Orson Welles) and is still recognizable in contemporary films.

You are always in a different position to the house while the illuminated window of the upper room stays in the same place. In the room behind this window, the event takes place that is the driving force behind the entire film. Here Charles Foster Kane blows his last breath and lets his last word be heard while he drops a crystal snowball piece: “Rosebud.” By finding out what this word meant for Kane, people want to find out their true thoughts and identity. Through conversations with “eyewitnesses” an attempt is made to find out the meaning of the word and thus his entire life is reconstructed.

In the effective news clip about Kane, we are quickly informed about his life. We notice that Kane was a famous and controversial person. Just as was the case with Lawrence in David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia,” everyone has their own opinion about Kane, while nobody seems to know him.

What was actually going on in the head of this special figure? What has the sudden wealth for Kane from a poor family done to him? How does he view things like power, money, friendship and love? What did he miss most in his life? What does he regret the most, and what is the most important thing in his life in the end? The more you think about this, the better Kane’s drama comes to the fore. You want to be able to feel and understand it as a spectator, and this is at the same time intriguing and frustrating. You want to get to know him, but this never works. Although the final revelation of the word “Rosebud” says something about Kane’s (last) desires or thoughts, the words of the investigating journalist also seem to be very true: A person’s life cannot be defined by a single word. You can listen to and combine different points of view like the jigsaw puzzles Kane’s wife Susan Alexander is working on, but there will always be pieces missing.

A true classic that every film enthusiast should have seen at least once.

[- Marc Ferket]
Movie on IMDB

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