Friday, 30 September 2011
When I first found out that we were to be watching Citizen Kane in our HCJ lecture, I was a little bit worried that it would bore me to tears, having heard so much negative feedback from anyone that has ever watched it (even including the American sitcom 'Firends'). However, it was not as boring as expected, and I was actually pleasantly surprised (it wasn't no Fast and Furious, but it was still interesting).
The way I saw the film was that it was a news reporter trying to figure out what 'Citizen Kane's' dying words 'rosebud' had meant - and the film dealt with many flashbacks in order to go over Kane's life as this journalist questioned different people who new Kane, and what they thought it may have to do with.
Charles Foster Kane surged to power in the journalistic world, by taking over at a struggling newspaper, 'The Enquirer', to which his former parental guardian had run. He then went about his way to highlight anything and everything that could be seen interesting or scandalous to the public, and maybe even at times over-dramatised things to make them more interesting in order to get a higher circulation and earn more money. He even went to a larger newspaper, with a higher reputation then his own, and 'headhunted' or stole their employees, in order to have a formidable news writing team.
The more the film goes on we find out that Kane is his own worst enemy, in that he is extremely arrogant, reckless, attention seeking and has little to no morals. The way in which we are shown examples of his arrogance is in the way in which he talks to Thatcher, the once owner of The Enquirer and his parental guardian. He is always out to wind him up or annoy him in one way or another, the bit that stuck out to me like a sore thumb was the conversation on how to run a newspaper; Thatcher tells Kane that he has lost a million dollars this year, and Kane goes on to tell him, he expects to lose another million this year, and next, and then with a smug grin pronounces that at this rate he will have to close the paper in...60 years.
He seeks attention from everyone and anyone throughout the film, and he wants everyone to like and love him. A prime example of this, is when he brings in all the entertainers when the writers of the newspaper are having a meal, and he wants the everyone to see how great he is, and how much he does for them, but really all he wants is not to give to them but to make them like who he is. He even runs for Governor, to make himself be heard, and for an even wider audience to love him. I think that Kane's relentless search for love, is mainly due to him being placed in a boarding school at a young age, maybe feeling his mothers rejection had this adverse affect on him.
The film ends with his demise when he finally loses his beloved second wife, who feels that she has been let down by her husband, and he recognises that he is incapable of loving anyone else but himself. She shouts at him, exclaiming she has never given her anything. Now he had given her jewellery, clothes, a magnificent home and even an Opera House, but what she s referring to is emotional. Kane has never given her anything emotional, like his love for example.
I think Citizen Kane links in well to what we are going to learn further on in our HCJ lectures as it is from the times of modernism, when we are aware of the fear and 'angst' of the world.