Memory is a curse

14 03 2012

In my film class earlier this week, we watched Citizen Kane, also one of my all-time favourite films.  I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time around, but this time, I was so tired that it became hard to keep my eyes open especially in the first hour, which made me sad– the whole time I was almost nodding off, I kept thinking, “I shouldn’t be falling asleep!  This is one of the greatest movies of all time!  But… must let eyes… rest….  No!  I shouldn’t be sleeping! etc.”

During the second half of the film, there’s a quote that really stood out to me.  It’s said by Leland, Kane’s best friend.  As he describes what happened to him and Kane in the past, he says, “I can remember everything. That’s my curse, young man. It’s the greatest curse that’s ever been inflicted on the human race: memory.”

I really dig that line.  And it’s true.  Sometimes I wish my memory weren’t so good because it constantly winds itself up with details that I know no one else remembers or cares to remember.  And then I go on about those details all day… a curse indeed.  Memory is a curse.

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 4: Favourite drama

16 06 2011

Before I watched Citizen Kane, I heard, basically from everyone who had seen the film, that it was boring and overrated, which, admitedly, made me not really want to watch the movie.  Despite this, while I was at VFS, in one of my classes, we talked about some top 10 lists of films and Kane had made the top of the American Film Institute’s list twice in a row, and was the only film to do so, according to my teacher.  Anyway.

I probably shouldn’t have listened to people without even knowing what the movie was about.  At last, in my Survey of Narrative Film class at Langara, Citizen Kane was on the list of films we would be studying.  I’d finally get to see it for myself.

It’s important to know the background and historical setting (such as what was going on in society at the time) to really “get” a film.  As the teacher at VFS would tell us before watching any “old” film, “It’s time to take off our 2008 caps and put on our [insert whatever year the film was made] caps”, which I’ve found is really important to any film.  So in our film class, we learned about all the film techniques that had been popular up until Orson Welles made the film as well as all the things he pioneered and experimented with, such as showing the ceilings of rooms (because most films were made in the studio where the ceilings were open), using different angles like the broken snowglobe, and even things that we take for granted today like people talking at the same time (whereas previous to Kane, actors would say their lines nice and neatly).

After I saw the film in class, I was speechless.  There were no words to describe what I had just seen.  I thought it was absolutely brilliant.  The story is great, and for me anyway, holds up for its time because of the key themes in the film, like really knowing people.

Citizen Kane remains one of my favourite films of all time.  I should get the DVD sometime…