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Citizen Kane [U]

Runtime: 119 mins

Distributor: BFI

From the opening sequence of ‘impressionist’ moonlit atmospherics to expressionist camera angles, chiaroscuro lighting and complex long takes, Orson Welles’ first film – the most famous and influential debut in all cinema – is replete with stylistic tropes and flourishes which evoke the German cinema of the late ’20s and early ’30s. Welles’s masterpiece charts the rise and fall of a newspaper magnate who is indelibly corrupted by the ruthless pursuit of power. Famously telling its tale backwards, the film begins at its subject’s deathbed, and then sets about unravelling the mystery of his enigmatic last word: “Rosebud”. CITIZEN KANE’s stylistic innovations sparkle with originality and wit, and the final revelation makes it as poignant as it is dazzling.

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