Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Citizen Kane Scene Analysis: A Vast Distance

Some people can grow distance from the world and people close to them after a while. In Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) slowly withdraws from the world and his second wife, Susan (Dorothy Comingore). This is shown in many different ways in a scene where they are having a conversation near the fireside. The dialogue between the two is strained, making it seem a little tense. The mise-en-scene represents the space growing between them as well as Kane's inner darkness growing. The body language of the actors show what the characters are truly feeling. All of these come together to make a great picture of Kane pushing Susan and the world away.
            The dialogue is very tense. As the scene begins, Susan seems to be slightly bored with her life, as she is not used to so much quiet. Kane seems to be slightly amused by her, and content with how things are going. However when the scene changes, the dialogue is much more strained. Kane seems a little angry at Susan when he talks to her, and she is just being mad back. They are not being angry in their tone, but the dialogue has a feeling of some resentment growing between them. Susan's words seem to have a sting to them, and Kane sounds like he's trying to be controlling and keep her where he wants her.
            The Mise-en-scene of the scene also shows them growing apart. In the first half of the scene, they are standing near each other after Kane walks up to her. In the second half, however, he walks past her and sits in a chair, far away from her. The distance, literally and figuratively, is great between them. They aren't being as personal as they use to be, and Kane almost looks lonely on his chair surrounded by so much empty space. The lighting also kind of shows some shadow on Kane, and much more light on Susan. It shows that Kane may be getting depressed or withdrawing because he is moving away from the light in his life, Susan.
            The body language in the scene also shows a lot. The characters both seem to be very bored from their body language. As Susan throws down the puzzle piece and looks up at Kane, she seems to be getting slightly annoyed and bored at the monotony she has been experiencing. Kane, on the other hand is standing up and looks proud of himself. As time goes on, he ends up sitting on his throne, looking like he is in charge of his life, but is seemingly not even looking directly at Susan. Susan at that point looks almost enraged with her body language, slumped over and obviously being beaten down by the boredom she's been experiencing since she started living in Xanadu.
            This scene obviously shows much of Kane's withdrawal from his public life. He seems to be becoming a loner of sorts, a recluse, which Susan isn't wanting to be. The distance between them becomes immense. The film shows many aspects of how this distance is growing. The tense dialogue, dark Mise-en-scene and the body language of boredom from Kane and Susan truly shows a man withdrawing from everyone around him.

(Written in 2012)

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