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May 1995, Week 5


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 28 May 1995 12:09:21 -0700
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I took a wild guess and suggested that Kane was simply "an incomplete man"
being his life was centered around money, and the mirrors reflected his
fragmentation and his narcisicism. She said I was wrong.
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Your teacher is an idiot!
There is no "wrong" answer to such a question. In fact, I think your answer
is not so bad (and I've been teaching the dad-blasted thing for 25 years).
One other view is that the story of Kane's life is fragmented through the
various narrative views, so why not show an image in which there are many,
many Kanes, stretching off into infinity -- and an illusory infinity at that.
Also, don't underestimate the fact that Welles was out to dazzle audiences in
this, his first feature film. Perhaps the sheer visual joy of such a shot
appealed to him (and to Gregg Toland.)
At the end of "Touch of Evil", Marlene Dietrich says "What can you say about
someone after he's dead? He was some kind of a man."
Welles' films all seem to be concerned with the impossibility of making sense
of the complex nature of a human being and certainly not in the "sound bite"
method of journalism. "Rosebud" is indeed a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle,
no more or less important than all the other pieces.
To say that someone's interpretation of this deliberately ambiguous shot is
"wrong" implies that there is a "right" answer.
Shame on her!
Gene Stavis, School of Visual Arts - NYC
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