Orson Welles in Citizen Kane Essay

542 Words3 Pages
Orson Welles in Citizen Kane Orson Welles produced, directed and starred in Citizen Kane, the classic masterpiece which communicates its original narrative through ground-breaking cinematography, lighting, music, setting, sound and performances. The film has underlying symbols in every single shot, and uses innumerable cinematic devices to convey meaning. One of the many implications Citizen Kane makes is strongly embodied in the sequence of Kane and his wife Susan at their palace, Xanadu. Welles' choice of camera shots, mise-en-scene and movement in this sequence are used effectively to symbolize women's inferiority to men. The manner in which Susan Alexander is shot in this sequence is…show more content…
As the camera cuts to a long shot taken from behind Kane's left shoulder, Susan appears so small that the spectator must actually search the mise-en-scene for her. By choosing these particular camera shots and angles, Welles uses cinematic devices to portray women. Mise-en-scene takes an important role in this sequence, as it strongly illustrates the powerlessness and irrelevance of Susan. In front of the vast empty fireplace completing her endless jigsaw puzzles, Susan kneels near the bottom of the frame, which symbolizes defencelessness and insignificance. To her right, there is a fire pump which is so large it dwarfs her, and behind to her left is a massive statue of a Roman goddess. This is ironic, since deities represent strength and authority, both of which Susan is completely lacking. The goddess takes on the dominant role of this shot instead of the living person, Susan. This particular use of mise-en-scene represents the inequality between men and women in the film. Susan's movements also play a major role in implying the submissiveness of women. Gentle, graceful hand movements as she places puzzle pieces, a slow turn of the head as she acknowledges Kane's entrance, and delicately twitching her fingers as she begs Charles to go to New York; all of which indicate frailty and helplessness.
Open Document