Citizen Kane:
The Poet’s Eye

         The greatest movie of all time—period—look at any number of critics greatest films of all time; and, if Citizen Kane is not first, it is top five. It is bold, adventurous approach and Orson Welles’ poetic influence gave audiences something most movies do not: a chance to use their imagination.

         “A Film is never really any good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” Welles said. His philosophy of filmmaking went into the implementation of Citizen Kane; the culminating result of these two ingredients was a masterpiece. Just like the group of art students standing in front of a painting and seeing a group full of different meanings, Citizen Kane sparks the imagination, gives you a hint, and then sends you on an adventure to find the answer.

         The first time I encountered Citizen Kane I was in high school, and we were made to watch it for a class. The old symptom—if you are forced to do something, you do not like it--set in, and I found myself distanced from the subject. In fact, at that point in my life, I hated movies made in black and white. However, I later changed my mind, and to this day, I believe that anyone not liking the movie just does not understand it. And true, I might not see it the same as someone else, but at least I appreciate it. Like a poem taking on a different meaning for different readers this film takes on a different meaning for different viewers. That is the beauty of it.

         On top of the poetic framework of the story Welles implemented many new camera angles and other technical stunts into his work. It is like the way some people think differently when lying down compared with standing up. It is all based on the perspective you get. We feel involved in the story, very voyeuristic, as if we are supposed to be finding out what this “rosebud” is. WE are hot on the trail and want to know the answer. From the moment we see the nurse walk in and it appears we are under the bed, we are captured, convinced we must fine the answer for this dying old man.

         Like other forms of experimental film it does not set a trend that all movies in the future must be made like it. But, it is made so well that it is near perfect, and we appreciate that. Who knows? Without Citizen Kane we might not have the Fight Clubs or the Mementos.

A. J. Casey

Table of Contents