Mise-en-Scene and Citizen Kane

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Mise-En-Scene and Citizen Kane

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Use of Mise-En-Scene in Citizen Kane
  • The Cinematography of Citizen Kane
  • The Symbolism in Citizen Kane
  • Conclusion


In the entertainment world, there are different types of film and genre that are breathtaking. No matter the differences of the movies c, there's one element that ties them all together. A film is noticed with the aspects of Mise-en-scene by following an order form. Films will show ways of a certain degree in every angle changes made with feature of Mise-en-scene can bring difference in film genre without any fixes to script. This element is called Mise-en-scene, it means “putting into the scene” phrased by French. The element covers such as acting, setting, lighting, and costume. In a film/movie it needs to include a two scenes that have the same script and actors dialogues but in Mise-en-scene change is noticed by among factor of two. For instance, One scene length should be between 3-5 minutes, which goes to final edit in range of 7-10 minutes.

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The Use of Mise-En-Scene in Citizen Kane

The film “Citizen Kane” uses the element Mise-en-scene of setting to create a storyline and plot of the movie. In the film, they use location, colors, andporps of the movie to add and set the mood for the film. The biggest Mise-en-scene element that stood out to me is the use of colors and lack of it. The whole film is filmed in black and white and people would say its because its an older movie. Because in the normal world films are usually filmed in colors. 

The Cinematography of Citizen Kane

The interesting thing is that the movie chose to be filmed in black and white. They chose it to be filmed in black white because it displays it shows the chaotic world that the characters live in. But it blocks the expressive feeling and emotions that the characters are feeling which can only be expressive through facial expression. For example, if the character in the film is Fatigued their face will turn red. So emotions and feelings must be expressed in some other way because black and white doesn’t allow it.

In “Citizen Kane”, they did well on showing the flask back we see in the beginning was in Kane childhood home. Orson Welles blocked the scene where we see Kane in a background of the scene behind a glass window. While his parents were talking about sending him away for a better life. Kane seemed trapped in the background and there was a close up where we could see Kane expression fades away slowly to where he seemed happy. The snow itself represent both of freezing which is an idea of life that Kane have and burying which leaving the past behind. Throughout the movie, Kane was never again shown against a white background, which it would have implied his innocences in his childhood.

The Symbolism in Citizen Kane

Citizens Kane is surrounded by symbol. Olson Wells opened up the first scene of the film with a rusty gate. The gate symbolizes loneliness, while iron represents a strength. We see Monkeys in a foggy setting and showing us clearly how charles foster Kane feels. Then we see that the camera takes focus highlighting the enigma. His childhood memory will as dark and light. Kanes marriage with emily norton was a mess. The distance they had between the married couple showed us in the dining room during the silence and awkward moments. When Emily found out about the affaires Kane charles was shown larger on television compared to political boss james, showing Kane felt more important and valued regardless of him being caught up with the scandal. When Susan and Kane gets married, Kane pressured to pursue singing as a profession and build an opera house for her to sing at.

In the film, Susan is overwhelmed and couldn’t handle the negativity she was getting. While Kane, in the shadows looking down on her saying “continue with your singing” in that moment we can see Susan youth innocence in a bright white light. There's a chaotic scene inside the opera house showing the emotions and how hurt Susan felt, and almost cost her life. Susan told Kane she was “lonely” while she hand over over 40 guests. 


The loneliness that was surrounding the palace symbolized Kane’s life. We see Susan often working on her puzzles reminding the viewers of the info that is missing “Rose Bud”. Susan obviously leaves him as the film displays one as she was leaving through many doors, as she was doing it over and over again, seeing how heartbroken and painful charles felt. Finally at the end of the film,“Rosebud” is revealed to the good moments that Charles cherished as a child, we see “Rosebud” being thrown into a burning fire, burning means it's an end to everything.   

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