12 November 2010

15 Films

 So has anyone seen that thing on Facebook where you randomly list 15 movies that you'll always remember or affected your life significantly? Well, I'm going to make a post every day for each of the 15 films that I selected. I'll also write a little bit about why I chose that particular film. So, here goes. (This is in no particular order, just the order of how they went down)

Citizen Kane, 1941

I'm going to start by saying that Citizen Kane isn't necessarily one of my favorite movies. It's not that I think it wasn't good, or it was boring or anything like that, but I don't know, it's just not really my cup of tea. I think it's one of those films that you need to watch a couple of times to really appreciate. 

As the movie opens, we come across an old, lonely manor house on top of a mountain. Ignoring the No Trespassing sign, we enter the house and make our way into a bedroom. A silhouette of a man lays on the bed, clutching a snow globe in his hand. He whispers the word "rosebud" and drops the snow globe. As it shatters on the floor, a woman rushes in and pulls the bed sheet over the dead man's face.  So ends the life of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles).

The rest of the story is told in flashbacks. Kane becomes an unscrupulous newspaper tycoon (the character was apparently based on William Randolph Hearst and as the story goes, he was none too happy about it). As his luck would have it though, he finds out that money really doesn't buy happiness, and he is left a broken bitter old man.

This is one of those essential films that is requisite viewing in any film class. I think Citizen Kane is one of the best films ever made from a technical point of view.  In fact, I think that the cinematography is my favorite thing about Citizen Kane. The opening scene alone is absolutely brilliant. It's perfectly moody, Gothic, and almost brooding. You feel the chill in the air, and the mist sticks to you. Observe, the opening of Citizen Kane.

 Citizen Kane was one of the first black-and-white/classic viewings that I can remember. Actually, I think it was the second classic film I'd ever seen, the first being It's a Wonderful Life. I remember sitting in my tenth grade film class and being totally absorbed in this film. I jotted down notes so fast I was slightly surprised my pencil didn't spark. I was totally impressed with the film, and I still am. When I took a college film course, the professor, Faye Dunaway- I mean, Dr. Rebecca Dean- showed this film first. As I said before, it's one of those films that you just need to see if you want anything to do with film. It was groundbreaking, astounding, and somewhat shocking on so many levels, and it none of that has diminished yet.

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