Analysis Assignment #1

October 17th, 2011

Scene Analysis: From Citizen Kane (directed by Orson Welles, RKO, 1941)
Analysis of the Breakfast Montage Scene:
This scene consists of many fast cuts and repetitive shots but they all come together to create a certain mood.

Starts with a dissolve into a straight long shot (2 shot) of Kane and his wife Emily sitting closely together at the breakfast table. The camera zooms in slowly on this shot to a medium close up of the couple
The next 6 shots are back and forth close ups of the two characters as they exchange conversation about their relationship
There is then a dissolve to the next series of 4 shots: The dissolve implies the passage of time
These four shots are medium close ups as well of each character as they continue to discuss their relationship
In this scene the characters are no longer sitting near eachother but rather at opposite ends of the table and there is a flower centerpiece in between them

After these 4 shots a dissolve then brings the audience further in time to the same setting with the characters
After this dissolve there are again 4 back and forth shots of medium close ups of the two characters
Again there is a dissolve that is followed by two very quick shots (MCU straight shots) one of each character:
By this time the characters conversation has become shorter and more rigind
-These shots were then followed by another dissolve: this dissolve is followed by one MCU of Emily which cuts to a MCU shot of Kane which transitions to a simultaneous zoom out and pan right.
The ending shot is one of the whole dining room. This shot allows the audience to really see the distance between the two characters physically which implies their distance emotionally.

The sheer genius of this scene for me is in the framing and the editing but first, lets talk about the framing.

Framing: The framing of the short takes were all close to MCU’s (medium close ups) and they were for the most part straight on. The straight forward tight framing of the shot allowed the viewer to focus closely on the attributes of the actors and their expressions and how they were aging. Many of the MCU shots in this scene also had medium depths of field, all the items in the foreground and mid ground were in focus.

Editing: Welles uses the dissolve to move from one series of shots to the next so perfectly in this montage because it implies that there is a significant passage of time.  There is a continuity in the editing. The eyeline between shots of the two characters always makes perfect sense.  Also the quickness of the cuts between shots from one MCU to another really enhances the quickness of the conversations between a husband and wife whose marriage was falling apart.

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