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Comparative Analysis Of Narrative Techniques In Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) And Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950)

2293 words - 10 pages

At first glance, Citizen Kane and Rashomon seem structurally similar to each other and as well each explores the concept of truth. They both use multiple narratives to tell their stories; however, the idea of truth is handled differently in each.
Citizen Kane is a fictionalized documentary about the life of wealthy newspaperman Charles Kane. In Rashomon, while each narration widens understanding of the motivations of the narrators of the event, only one of the varying accounts is factual.
The central theme of Citizen Kane is exploring a person’s life after his death. It talks about a person and what does audience thinks of that person. This film also analyzes the ...view middle of the document...

What really differentiates the points of view in Citizen Kane and Rashomon is the purpose of the narration. In Citizen Kane, the narrators simply tell what they know of Kane. While in Rashomon, narrators tell what happened.

Citizen Kane
• Rosebud
• Campaign time
• Xanadu-still unfinished
• Infinite reflections of Kane
• Low camera angle
Rosebud is both a symbol and metaphor for the life which Kane essentially pursues. It is a representation of the love, happiness, innocence in his childhood and later in the film it represents the loneliness of Kane.
The low-set camera position illustrates the contrast between the size of Kane's aspirations, and his actual position in reality. The relative position of the banners, in comparison to the "KANE" posters, symbolizes that he perceives himself as more significant than he actually is.
Through this director wants to prove that one can never achieve the “American Dream”, it is elusive. Shattered Charles Foster Kane pass a series of mirrors in which his image is duplicated infinitely. This metaphorically conveys that there are infinite versions of Kane.
This projects the significance of the individuals that occupy the frame, as they dominate its focus. Kane's attempts to establish and perpetuate his ego are hint to such scenes.


• The Gate
• The Rains
• The Stream and the Pool
• The Sun
Gate is the representative of cultural or civilized values, perhaps of civilization itself. The way commoner breaks pieces of wood from a structure that is already in ruins shows how selfish and silical he is.
Rains represent darkness and evilness present in the world. Rain symbolizes the downpour of disturbed emotions that we witness at the gate.
In one of the film's most beautiful scenes, the wife kneels next to a stream that runs through the forest. The most obvious meaning of this seems to be of the beauty that can be found even in the heart of a moral wilderness.
Sun in the end, represents winning of good over bad. In the end of the movie when Woodcutter takes the child, rains stops and Sun shines and Priest says that ‘my faith remains in human soul’. It shows that at the end good wins over evil.

Narrative Technique:
Both the films have verbal narratives in the present and visual narratives in the past.
Citizen Kane-
There are three framing narratives and four core narratives, in all seven narratives.
1. Framing narrative:
Opening sequence- Fences and “No Trespassing” sign board. Then series of dissolve where camera is coming closer and closer to the castle (Xanadu) and single lighted window. Then the light goes off and moment later we can see the same window but from inside the castle. Cut to dying Kane and close-up of his lips saying his last word “Rosebud” and snow globe falls in slow motion from his hand. Then a nurse rushes in which can be seen in a reflection in broken glass of snow globe and covers the dead body of Charles Foster Kane.
News reel- Suddenly film cuts to a news bulletin,...

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