Citizen kane cinematography essay

Inhe declined offers from David O. Schaefer wanted to work with Welles after the notorious broadcast, believing that Welles had a gift for attracting mass attention.

Citizen kane cinematography essay

The cinematography affects our understanding of Citizen Kane by providing a stable framework for theoretical and historical discussions. Welles wanted the audience to be unaware of the cinematic apparatus by creating scenes that would flow together imperceptibly without the need for inter-cutting.

The technique was sparingly used in the three films he shot prior to Citizen Kane: By approximating the vision of the human eye, Toland trains the viewer to scan the image for clues to the implications of the composition.

Citizen kane cinematography essay

In a subtle but effective way, I believe Toland implicitly encourages us to do the same in our own lives. Citizen Kane, therefore, becomes a signifier to our own experience.

To this viewer, the deep-focus technique is very reminiscent of the style of photojournalism. Photojournalists Citizen kane cinematography essay employ wide-angle lenses to capture as much image as possible to place the viewer in the context of the scene.

What results is a deep-focus style approximate to that of Citizen Kane. As a former CBS videojournalist, I too adopted a style of deep-focus videography. I was not a student of journalism, however, but my goal was to give my viewer the sense that they were where I was. The Kane viewer is further reminded of the human experience through the use of deep-focus associated with the photojournalist.

Deep-focus cinematography provides another form of expression for the cinematographer. This expression comes from the connotative meanings of images.

Images can be coded through lighting, movement, angle, distance, and color. These codes are cultural and subjective and can be harder to pin down than the denotative meaning of images.

Kane walks to the back of the room as Mr. As Kane walks, he diminishes in size so that he is standing underneath three giant windows that at the beginning of the shot appear to be smaller. In the deep-focus composition Bernstein occupies right side of the frame in a close-up, Thatcher occupies the left side in a medium shot, and Kane between the two in an extreme long shot.

Here we can see that Toland and Welles were well informed to the artistic theories that define the connotative meanings of imagery. In this shot, a young Kane is framed in a window with his father to one side and his mother and Thatcher to the other.


Again we see the connotative meanings of imagery interacting with there denotative functions. Kane separates his mother and father, the mother being aligned with Thatcher. Kane, in the foreground of the frame, occupies most of the image, which connotes her power. What is important for this essay is that Toland and Welles, though not documented, seem to be aware of the connotative power of images.

The use of deep-focus cinematography exploits the full coded potential of imagery. Deep-focus photography informs another important discourse surrounding Citizen Kane.

Many texts have been written on the subjective camera employed by Toland and Welles. Arguments are made that the deep-focus style, approximating the vision of the human eye, works to support the narrative logic of the camera, thus the spectator, as viewing Kane through the eyes of the subjective narrator.

A careful analysis of any of the flashback sequences, I believe, debunks this theory as the deep-focus camera as subjective.

Citizen Kane | Free Essays -

In many of the sequences the camera views events that the current narrator is not present to see. The result is that deep-focus cinematography places the camera and the spectator in a position of privilege. We see things that none of the characters can see.

The camera, thus the viewer, becomes nearly omniscient, selectively not subjectively viewing the story. To this end, the deep-focus photography is not realist. To this viewer, my understanding becomes deeper. Their collaboration produces a filmic discourse that is far more complex and engaging than the simplicity that realism implies.

The result is a sequence that takes on added significance.These results came out with a bang — the sound, of course, of Vertigo displacing Citizen Kane. How many who watched the young Orson Welles' debut during its financially inauspicious original run could have guessed it would one day stand as a byword for the height of cinematic craftsmanship.

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