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Citizen Kane Shot Composition

Pick 2 out of the 3 images and analyse in depth how their composition affects the storytelling of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.Word Count: Max 600words.In this long shot we see Kane’s mother in the foreground is sigining the documents for Kane to be taken by the banker.

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Kane however is in the background playing with the snow. It shows the innocence in Kane who is playing happily in the snow and unaware of what is happening to his future. The mother is the one signing the documents which demostrates little love for her child over herself which in course leads kane to crave love more than anything in his later life.

The lighting in the scene where Kane is playing happily in the snow also is strong with little cast shadows, this shows the purity of his character. The use of the window to frame little Kane places the emphasis on him and shows how the signing of the documents will have a crucial impact on Kane. The framing also creates contrast between the joyful mood of kane playing outside with the serious discussions in the house. The men are in a dark room, silouette of the man talking in front is seen. This shot uses only back lighting as the sole source of lighting to create a mysterious and secretive mood.

The dark room signifys that the men have many questions on their mind about Charles Foster Kane and his last words, hence being “left in the dark”. The set-up also establishes the stage for the rest of the story. None of the men are actually in the focus in this shot, it shows that neither of them are of adequate significance in the story. The way the room is lid also expresses the filmmaker’s views about members of the media. The strong light and shadow contrast shows the characters’ somewhat shady intentions for uncovering the last words of kane.

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