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Classic Film Noir Style and its Characteristics: Moral Uncertainty, Complex Camera Shots and Scenes and Chiaroscuro Lighting in Citizen Kane (1941) - Essay Example

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Unconventional lighting that focuses on shadows and illustration of the themes of human depravity and failures are particular to film noir style, also called “black film” (Luhr 1995, p.8). The first era of film noir is called classic film noir and emerged during the early 1940s…
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Classic Film Noir Style and its Characteristics: Moral Uncertainty, Complex Camera Shots and Scenes and Chiaroscuro Lighting in Citizen Kane (1941)
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"Classic Film Noir Style and its Characteristics: Moral Uncertainty, Complex Camera Shots and Scenes and Chiaroscuro Lighting in Citizen Kane (1941)"

Download file to see previous pages Urban modernism also affects the stylistic elements of film noir, as it focuses on contemporary urban landscape and the social influences of urban settings on human attitudes and behaviours (Luhr 2012, p.63; Grant 2007, p.24). Film scholars, however, cannot agree on any single definition of film noir. Selby believes that film noir is “perhaps the most slippery of all film categories” (Schwartz 2001, p.16). Despite doubts in defining film noir, critics agree that film noir is not an ordinary thriller because it provides quality characterisation, stylistics, and narratives (Berry-Flint 2004, p.35; Krutnik 1991, p.16). Citizen Kane (1941) is frequently described as the first or pre-noir film, due to its film noir darkness in terms of characters and plot (Krutnik 1991, p.16). Film noir has distinguishing characteristics in narrative pattern, structure, themes, and stylistic elements that are present in Citizen Kane (1941). The narrative pattern of film noir is distinguished with convoluted plots that are obsessed with flashbacks and flashforwards. Directors of film noir use flashbacks to provide a complex story to their audience (Schickel 2007, p.38). Citizen Kane (1941) is a particularly multifaceted film because reporter Thompson (William Alland) can only understand the personality and life of newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) from the perspectives of different people in the latter’s life. ...
Memory is an important aspect of the narrative of film noir, because it relates to the “subjectivity of consciousness” (Menegaldo 2004, p.157). The entire story of the film is similar to the newsreel. It can only say something about Kane, but the audience understands that all of them are mere opinions of the man. In the end, no one truly knows who Kane is, which is why nobody discovered what Rosebud means to him. The reason why Kane is so difficult to understand is because he does not want to open up to other people in the first place. The “No Trespassing” sign in Kane’s Xanadu estate, which launches and ends the film, expresses how Kane felt about people. He never trusted anyone because his childhood experience taught him that to love is to be vulnerable and to be vulnerable is to experience pain and misery. He may have never understood why his mother sent him away, even if he somehow knows that she did it for his best interest. Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore) wants her son to have the finest education and upbringing in the city that she, as a provincial mother, cannot provide him. Still, she might not have considered what Kane wanted as a child. He only wanted his mother’s love and presence, for it seems that without it, he became a cold, calculating and ruthless man- the ideal hero of classic film noir. The structure of film noir does not follow the normal three-act arrangement of many films, and instead, it showcases an intricate plot with elaborate flashbacks. Citizen Kane (1941) has patterns of repetitions through its flashbacks that create anxiety and tension that is typical of film noir (Oliver 2003, p.171). On the one hand, flashbacks are disorienting, especially ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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