History of the Cinema II blog

Citizen Kane Scene

It’s very hard to focus on such few shots because it goes fast as were playing the entire movie. I think a detailed observation and analysis requires us to sit down and press pause and replay as many times as we need to. I tried finding clips on youtube but theyre not really the clips I need, so I’ll rely on my memory and notes. I’m choosing to focus on the celebration dinner “declaring war on Spain”. >>This<< is almost the scene, but not quite where I took all of my notes though.

Let’s mention that this scene is so over the top and perfect, first of all! Can you imagine all the care that went into placing and seating everyone so it looked just right? we’re filled with a bunch of shapes on screen that if we could take snapshots, we’d be so impressed by the variety. It’s like every frame could be different photograph.

Let’s talk about the use of distance. It’s obvious throughout the whole film, but mostly it’s been used to show the characters being far apart and large space in between them. Here, we see how long this table must be but everyone is packed in so tightly. It’s a happy occasion and Kane seems really satisfied with himself. Should we assume this represents that in a way? That, at least for this moment, his void has been filled?

I might be going overboard and trying to hard to notice patterns in the film. All I saw to this scene was circles, circles, circles. There’s this annoying lttle circle on a string that I guess pulls the curtain down at the window (which by the way shows the reflection of Kane even as we’re not watching him). There’s a marching band consisting of cymbals, drums, and brass instruments and several shots of the horns to these instruments. The girls are dancing and forming circles, they have costumes with emphasized bow loops sticking out. They march around poles in circles. They perform in front of the balding men with the hairless circles atop their heads [hehe]:D. There’s also Bernstein’s glasses but they’ve been there for the whole movie. We’re given some of the most uncomfortable closeups to people wide eyes and open mouthed smiles. I couldn’t even begin to explain why this pattern would be chosen or what it’s supposed to mean to us, so I’ll leave it up to you, and maybe you guys will have some ideas explaining it to me.. why?


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September 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 AM

5 Responses to “Citizen Kane Scene”

  1.   Amy Herzog Says:

    Really great observations, especially from memory! I’m hoping others will take up your question, but it is a good one– why are there so many circles, in this scene and in the film in general? From a graphic standpoint, I think the circles provide a counterpoint to the very strong diagonal lines in many compositions. And cutting to the extreme closeups of faces creates a strong contrast to the deep focus shots of the large rooms. Any thoughts about symbolic or dramatic reasons for this type of repetition?

    And you are 100% right, doing a detailed analysis means getting your mitts on a video copy (a must for the upcoming assignment). You can watch the DVD in the library, or rent it from a store, or Netflix.

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    Cine Saiyan » Citizen Kane Scene

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