Previously at the ICA - Films
28 Oct 2011 – 3 Nov 2011
Frequently topping critic polls as the Best Film Of All Time, Citizen Kane needs little in the way of introduction. Yet for all its familiarity and the acres of column inches spent dissecting it, it still remains one of the greatest mysteries in modern cinema, forever divulging new secrets and hushed histories. It tells the tale in flashback of the rise of Charles Foster Kane from innocent go-getter into reclusive embittered media mogul. The film uses a powerful emotional chronology to portray Kane, set free from the constraints of traditional narrative, flashing back through the eyes of its many witnesses. This kaleidoscopic structure is perhaps one of the reasons the film’s dizzyingly complex and subtle portrait has managed to fascinate generation after generation.
One of the most striking things about revisiting this most iconic of films is just how fresh and modern it still is. Technically it still astounds, and yet what lingers most is the dazzling reconstruction of a man so complex and intriguing that the more he is explored and explained, the further his mystery deepens. And of course Welles was only 25 years old when he made it. It’s hard to escape the irony of Welles’ first film focusing on attempting to explore and explain a legend – something countless biographers have tried and failed to do with Welles himself.
Dir. Orson Welles, USA 1941, 119mins, cert U
Cast. Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton and Dorothy Comingore