I am analyzing the scene in Citizen Kane where he dies in the very beginning. Below is a link to Youtube so you can view the clip. The part of the clip i am analyzing is from about 2:23 to 3:00
Let me start with the shot that has the superimposition of the snow falling over the window. The window is the focal point of the very first two minutes of the movie. In my opinion the window represents Kane an how we the audience are observing him through the window. then when the snow is imposed over the shot of the window that is symbolic of Kane dying, because snow is often related to death. After the dissolve of the snow over the window the shot is then dissolved again to a snow globe. I don’t know what the snow globes connotation is, but it is a good way to show that Kane has died once he drops it. I enjoyed in this shot is how the camera zooms outward very quickly, so quickly that it is not steady, I wonder if this is due to the lack of technology at the time or if Welles wanted it to be like that. What ever the reason may be the zoom is so fast that it makes me feel very unsettled.
Next is the extreme close up of Kane’s mouth saying the infamous “Rosebud” line. Obviously the extreme close up implies importance to the line, it is basically the starting point of the plot for the reporters. Then there is the shot where he drops the snow globe. The snow globe does not break on its first impact nor its second or third. I think this is used to show that Kane was fighting to survive until the very end.
The two next shots after the snow globe exploding may be my favorite two of the whole movie. First there is a long shot of the nurse walking in the door but with this crazy “fish eye-ish” lens on the camera. If some one where to see only these two shots with this lens on the camera out of the whole movie they’d probably think this was some type of psychedelic horror film, and i think that is what Welles wanted out of these shots right after Kane’s death, as if to show that we should be in a state of delusion and confusion.
The next shot is pretty self explanatory but it makes great use of lighting. At first Kane’s body is fully lit and you can’t make out the face on the nurse. But then as she’s laying him to rest for the final time and pulling the sheet over him the shadow follows the sheet and creates only a silhouette of Kane while keeping the nurse in the shadow at the same time. I like the because it is almost symbolic to the point where the viewers feel that the nurse is a grim reaper of some sort.