The film “Citizen Kane” opens with somber chords, and, on a misty hill, we see the jagged silhouette of a castle. The scene is reminiscent of a gothic film, in which such a castle belonged to a mysterious creature. The next scene transports the viewer into the castle when a strange montaged scene occurs. A blizzard, a glass ball with snowflakes, Kane’s lips, whispering the dying words: “rosebud”.
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Gerry Thompson, the journalist who talks about perturbation in Kane’s life, is always in the shadow. This demonstrates the insignificance of the correspondent and, more importantly, the narrowness of his judgments.
Reflections play a very important role in the movie. The opening scene that drives to the Xanadu castle, first shows its reflection on the water. Then, before the “rosebud” scene, there is reflection on the broken glass of the snowball.
Wells and Toland can be called the starters of the deep mise-en-scene – a method of shooting in which objects in the frame, the foreground, and the background are in focus. The deep mise-en-scene presents new pictorial and narrative possibilities. First, it allows us to abandon inter-frame editing in favor of intra-frame editing to strengthen the dynamics of space and the dramatic expressiveness of the action in order to give a special sense of realism to the image. An example of a deep mise-en-scene is a fifteen-minute frame from “Citizen Kane”, in which the young protagonist plays snowballs in the background, while in the foreground adults decide his fate.
The mobility of the camera in the picture was not peculiar to the cinema of that time, but it is fascinating even today. For example, there are frames in the film when the camera passes through a table and flies through a neon sign. For such “impossible” actions, folding tables and special split signs were specially designed.
In terms of editing, two scenes from the film are considered the most significant. The first scene is “News on the March”, where the frames of a stylized chronicle replace each other in an almost clip-like cascade. The second scene, which is considered to be the most difficult one of all, is the breakfast scene. The married lives of characters are compressed to two minutes. The effect of “flying time” is created with the help of editing frames, in which the interior, makeup, and costumes change.