ORSON WELLES | USA | 1941 | 119 MIN | PG | 35MM
In the history of cinema, no work looms larger than CITIZEN KANE. Critically divisive and financially unsuccessful at the time of its release, the film went on to amass a reputation as a foundational text of auteurist filmmaking, leading Francois Truffaut to deem it the film that “has started the largest number of filmmakers on their careers.” Lensed by master cinematographer Gregg Toland, the film is an inexhaustible treasure trove of cinematic innovation, borrowing visual tricks from German Expressionism and Soviet montage and lending them to a classically American tale of unbridled ambition and moral rot. It’s the epic saga of media mogul Charles Foster Kane (Welles), whose final word—“Rosebud”—leads a young reporter to unravel the meaning of the mysterious utterance. Through flashbacks, we follow Kane’s meteoric rise from childhood upheaval to extravagant wealth and emotional bankruptcy. Even after decades of being labeled “Greatest Film Ever Made,” CITIZEN KANE retains its freshness and ability to surprise. And though Kane was famously inspired by real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, the film’s depiction of media manipulation and megalomania feels strikingly relevant.
Cast: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead
“Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made. Its depths surpass understanding.” –Roger Ebert