Citizen Kane: A Narrative Film Analysis

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Citizen Kane

1) Charles Foster Kane, played by Orson Welles, is based on the American newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Hearst tried to use his influence and resources to prevent the film from being released. He ultimately succeeded in pressuring theater changes to limit showings of Citizen Kane.
2) Kane’s mother acquires stock in a gold mine, which made him amazingly wealthy.
3) Citizen Kane is a technically innovative film primarily due to its use of deep focus.
4) When Mr. Thatcher tells him he is losing $1 million a year on the Inquirer, his reaction was: “He doesn't care”
5) When Charles Foster Kane dies at the beginning of the film, his last word was:


6) Kane gives up his marriage, his political career, and his friendship with Leland for Susan Alexander
7) An extreme close-up illuminates Kane's last word
8) Of all his assets, the only one Kane shows interest in was The newspaper
9) Film Art’s segmentation of Citizen Kane shows that its narrative is built around a series of lengthy flashbacks.
10) Kane signs his first day at the Inquirer a declaration of principles

What is Narrative Form?
  • Narrative form is the structure through which movies tell stories.
  • When we speak of ‘going to the movies,’ we almost always mean that we are going to see a narrative film, a film that tells a story.
  • A narrative is an account of a string of events occurring in space and time.
  • This logic of cause and effect ties together character traits, goals, obstacles, and actions.
  • Narratives do not unfold randomly, but rather as an ordered series of events connected by the logic of cause and effect.
Narratives are Everywhere
  • Narratives appear throughout media and society – in novels, plays, comic books, television shows, and even commercials.
  • Narratives are most common in fiction film but appear in most basic types of film: documentaries, animated film, experimental and avant-garde films, short films.

The Implied World of the Story
  • The implied world of the story, including settings, characters, sounds, and events, is the diegesis.
  • Elements that exist outside the diegesis are called non-diegetic or extradiegetic devices. The audience is aware of these non-diegetic components of the film, but the characters, of course, are not.

The Narrative Structure
  • Exposition – meeting the characters, establishing the setting, setting the tone – establishing the normal of the film world
  • Rising Action – the central conflict is introduced, and the tension between the protagonist and the antagonist begins to mount
  • Climax – The climax is the turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s future.
  • Falling Action – The major action has happened. This is the aftermath. This is the sorting out of the major conflict’s resolution.
  • Dénouement/Resolution – the creation of the new normal. The conflict is resolved

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