Analyse how the director Orson Welles uses film language in the opening sequence of Citizen Kane to engage the audience and establish dramatic purpose and meaning.
Significance of Orson Welles: What contributions has he made to the world of film? Why is he significant to the history of film?
Describe the filming and editing techniques and their dramatic purpose
An analysis of the dramatic effect of the image, sound and their sequences and an interpretation of their dramatic meaning
Codes and conventions of genre used as a means of creating film type and audience expectations
Orson Welles was an American director, actor, writer and producer. His film ‘Citizen Kane’ is widely recognised as one of the best films ever made. Welles pushed the boundaries of film making and made new guidelines of what was possible. His success was can be attributed to his innovative use of film language, within the opening sequence of ‘Citizen Kane’.
Orson Welles’ films gained him international recognition and, although all his films were commercial failures, he was highly rewarded for his contributions to the cinematic world. He experimented with camera lenses and angles, lighting, and sound to create something unique and ingenious.
His use of lighting and shadow, and a technique he used throughout his film ‘Citizen Kane’ known as Deep Focus was innovative for his time.
Welles’s accomplishments in film marked the start of a new direction in cinema.
His film ‘Citizen Kane’ introduced Hollywood to the immense creative potential of filmic techniques.
although familiar in todays society, the unique camera techniques Welles used were revolutionary to his time
The familiarity of Welles’ techniques to modern viewers, is a measure of the significance of the techniques popularised by Welles
The opening sequence of ‘Citizen Kane’ is rich with filmic techniques that contribute to the dramatic elements and plot-line of the film. The scene opens with a close-up shot of a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, this initial close-up shot of the sign and the fence creates a sense of voyeurism, as if the viewer is about to observe something that they shouldn’t. It also establishes the depiction of isolation that is used throughout the rest of the opening sequence. Welles uses crossfades of various fences to enforce this. We then have an establishing shot, in which we see a gate with a large ‘K’ and, behind, a castle. This is the first shot in which we see Welles use of deep focus, both the gate and the castle are in focus. The shot then fades to one of monkey cage, however, the castle remains in the same position. As the shots continue, we are guided around the abandoned, decaying grounds of, what we later find out to be, Xanadu, and with each shot we slowly get closer to the castle. The viewer begins to realise that the castle is not the point of focus in each shot but rather the light emitting out of one of the windows.
On the eleventh shot, we are looking directly at the...