Thursday 10 June 2010

Citizen Kane [1941]

Citizen Kane, quite astonishingly Orson Welles’ debut feature, is often cited as the greatest movie ever made; therefore I watched the film fully aware of its hallowed status among critics, scholars and filmmakers. So here’s the deal – I wasn’t overwhelmed by the film, or rather, not as much as would have been deemed commensurate with the enormous reputation that precedes it. The film-a-clef starts off with newspaper mogul Charles Forster Kane (commandingly portrayed by Welles himself) uttering the iconic last word “Rosebud” before his death in his palatial mansion. As a reporter, hoping to decipher the mystery behind the strange last word, starts interviewing the various people who knew Kane from close quarters, what emerges is the life of a singularly ambitious yet deeply lonely man otherwise known to the world as a powerful, visionary and filthy rich media magnate who had once harboured gubernatorial aspirations. And the more he goes about arranging the jigsaw puzzle and thus deconstructing the mythic nature of the man, the more he gets convinced that a single word can never encapsulate such complex a persona. William Randolph Hearst, whose life allegedly formed the basis of Kane’s character, infamously tried to destroy the film, but to no avail. The film’s forte lies in its pioneering technical accomplishments – virtuoso non-linear storytelling, a host of memorable deep focus shots, expressionistic photography with great usage of both low-angle and overhead shots, to name a few.

Director: Orson Welles
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Country: US


Just Another Film Buff said...

This is truly one of the greatest EVER made. But not many would cite it as one of their favorite films. The discrepancy lies in the fact that your favorite films are the ones that YOU discover. But there is no doubt that Kane is one of the movie temples, even beyond its techniques.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot for posting your views. Well, the point here isn't whether it is "ONE OF THE greatest ever" - which it is, but whether it is "THE greatest ever" which I'm not really so sure about. However blasphemous might this sound, I can safely say that I've seen movies that are as good, and even better. Ok, now I've got that out of my system, Ha :)

Sam Juliano said...

It's regularly voted the #1 film of all time by SIGHT AND SOUND (which gathers together some of the finest critics around the world) and in fact has been on top since 1952, when the pollings commenced. I consider it (with four or five others) as teh greatest film ever made, and there are days when I'd put it at the very top above the handful. But I do see where you are coming from, and have even recently seen a fellow blogger tear the film down. I've stated my case many times, so I won't be redundant, but I am grateful to get this personalized assessment, and excellent capsule.

Shubhajit said...

Sam, thanks for getting into this unending debate. Yes, I do know about your love for this movie, and I'm aware of the fact that it tops nearly every critic's poll out there for us to see on the net, including, but not limited to, Sight & Sound, AFI, TSPDT, etc. But my query is why is it always such an overwhelming choice for the top spot. Sam, could you please provide me the links to your appraisal of the film?

Sam Juliano said...

Thanks so very much for asking Shubhajit!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a ton Sam for providing the links to your writeups. I'll go through them at the earliest.