In his renowned film Citizen Kane, director, writer, actor, and producer Orson
Welles employs an innovative use of shadows, darkness, and angles to portray hidden
emotions and thought provoking social commentary; setting a precedent for all films to
come. This movie, called the “father” of film noir, employs an ingenious use of lighting and
focus to create new depths that add to the characters, drawing our attention to details that
shape the story. This film presented to the world a fresh take on the boundaries of story
telling, and ground breaking innovations that influence film making to this day.
Take, for example, the short film obituary for Charles Kane, ...view middle of the document...
2 Sierra Putman
present shadowing of Thompson only dissipates when he realizes that the thing he had
been hunting to discover wouldn’t define who Kane was, and that all the information he
had accumulated along his journey was the best definition of a man that he could have for
Kane. Thus bringing him out of the darkness of ignorance and mystery.
The film noir elements throughout this movie are employed to create a strong social
commentary about the lifestyles of Kane and his counterparts. Having made fortunes,
having loved and lost, having been adored by the unknowing public- Kane’s life should have
been more than satisfactory. But through the use of film noir elements we are aware from
the first shot that there is no chance this movie is going to end happily. In the first shots, we
are met with images of a crumbling mansion. And, as one shot dissolves into another, the
camera moves closer and closer to the mansion, each time revealing new imperfections.
The dark and angst nature of this film is in part to show the corruption and deceit of a
society that our world looks so highly upon. What we imagine to be a bright, happy, high
society world is proven, as we look closer and closer, to be dark and full of secrets. This is
impeccably evident when in “News on the March” we are shown what the outside world
imagines the Kane mansion to be- bright and full of light- when in reality we are shown that
the house is simply too large, lonely, and unfinished. The use of lighting and deep focus is
what presents these two contrasting views so spectacularly. In “News on the March” the
house is made to seem continuingly alive with something...