Citizen Kane Symbolism

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Hearst, Welles, Kane... deconstructed... ménage a`trois
Citizen Kane is considered by filmmakers and critics to be the greatest film of all time. Part of this lay in a young genius director using the means of production against one of America’s most wealthy media magnates, William Hearst. But Kane would have been forgotten had it not also been for the depth of characterization that Welles and Mankiewicz (screenwriter) brought to Kane as well as its original example of film art introducing a new style based on deep-focus photography, wide-angle lenses, and shots of unusually long duration. The film tells Kane 's story; a life full of emptiness, rage and ambition. Kane is a combination of Hearst and Welles’s lives portraying their similarities
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There is a link between this symbol and Welles’s childhood as he was the one who was raised by a guardian (Mr Berstein, his tutor and pediatrician), and the guardian’s name has been given to a character in the film. Fictional Mr Berstein, the only loyal friend who loves Hearst unconditionally, seems to understand that underneath Kane’s arrogant personality is a lost, lonely boy. Being raised in a boarding school, Welles’ childhood was a difficult one since his parents divorced when he was six years old, his mother died when he was nine and his father six years later. Thus, Kane’s childhood can be closely related to Welles’s as well as his ambition for power and his taste for…show more content…
Kane’s story unfolds in overlapping flashbacks that add more information as each of the five narrators gives his or her version of a lonely boy who grows up to be an isolated arrogant, inconsiderate, morally bankrupt man. Two perspectives are simultaneously seen throughout the film: Kane’s (the camera) and the interview/interviewee. The “faceless” Thompson (the journalist in charge of finding the meaning of “Rosebud”) is never totally revealed. He is usually shown from the back, and is hidden by shadow, faint lighting or darkness. Thompson is a representative of all viewers, since he has no identity, searching along with Kane (in each flashback) for the truth of the magnate’s life. However, one of the themes of the film is the unreliability of memory and the flashbacks are given by the perspective of aged or forgetful characters, which raise doubts on the memories being discussed. They are unreliable narrators whose own opinions and interpretations affect their accuracy. The multiple narration technique succeeds in painting Kane as an enigma, a tortured, complicated man, who in the end, inevitably call upon sympathy rather than contempt because old age in Citizen Kane does not come with grace but with defeat. For example the opening of the film, a series of set-ups all telling something of the literally incredible domain of Charles Foster Kane, which once was magnificent but now is ripe and
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