Citizen Kane Mise En Scene Analysis

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Orson Welles’s portrayal of William Randolph Hearst in the film Citizen Kane reveals the protagonist’s life and character through various film making techniques. Several dialects of cinematic language were used to translate the main character, Charles Foster Kane, to audiences. The meaning of his dying word “rosebud” is unattainable for the journalist pursuing Kane’s life story throughout the film. Following this theme, Kane also searched for something throughout his life – the happiness his sled rosebud brought him as a child. A simple time in anyone’s life that is often longed for. The film’s mise-en-scene comes together with Welles’s use of depth of field, lighting and parallel narratives to reflect Kane’s search for happiness. Depth of field was utilized in poignant moments throughout Kane’s life. The technique (also known as deep focus) was initially used during an important early scene at Kane boardinghouse. Welles utilized framing to enhance depth of field in this scene (Lewis 158). In doing so, a young Kane was seen through a window, blissfully unaware of how his life would be changed. This method was also used to reflect Kane’s sate…show more content…
Everything from paint on walls and columns to soft skin on actors during close-ups were done in light, bright tones. Other uses of lighting reflected darker moments in Kane’s life. In order to shed light on the true nature of his second wife’s singing career, she sat in bright lighting amongst a pile of bad reviews. All the while, she feverishly threatened to quit the singing business altogether. Her light turned to dark as Kane loomed over her, casting a dark shadow over her desires to quit. The mise-en-scene of the film was further enhanced with light and dark color choices. In the end, black smoke filled the air above Xanadu while rosebud burned in the fire. Further signifying the journalist was left in the dark about the

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