In 1941, Citizen Kane was released, ushering in a new era of filmmaking.
I will talk about one scene – The release of Jed Lealand – even though the entire film is an assembly of beautifully arranged scenes from start to end.
Bernstein is isolated in the background - a small figure standing between the two, enclosed in the doorframe – a man without opinion and influence over the future.
A lack of unity dominates the scene, amplified not only by the railing that separates them, but also by Kane's choice to turn away from his right-hand man.
Said abruptly, “Of course we're speaking, Jedediah. You're fired.” followed by the cold, metallic sound of a typewriter to emphasize the irreversible decision.
This is one of only a few scenes where Lealand is standing while Kane is sitting. To convey his superiority, Kane is in the foreground and so close to the camera that the viewer feels pressure. For most scenes Lealand is on his right side, but while he is being fired Kane’s whole right side is out of the frame; losing the only friend he had feels like part of his body is removed.
The position of the camera and the dark background amplifies that Kane is in prison, there is no way out – Lealand has to finish the bad notice, and Kane has to fire him.
Citizen Kane is a product of an incredible talent, who without knowing it at the time, set the standard and definition for excellence. He shows the world why a piece of valuable art never dies – because it teaches humanity. His achievement is one which all people aspire to.
5 / 5
Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorhead, Everett Sloane