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Filmotomy Christmas Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 1

One of the Greatest Scenes in the Snow

Citizen Kane may not be a ‘Christmas’ film; but it does have one iconic scene set in the snow. The scene where young Kane’s future is decided for him, is one that sticks in my mind, because it represents so much.

We see the young boy playing happily in the snow with sledge, without a care in the world. This is showing us how innocent children are, and how unaware they are of their fate in the world.

Citizen Kane

There is so much going on in this scene in terms of narrative and character development; and much of it has to do with the effective use of focusing and the position of the camera. The positioning of the characters is very specific and planned, showing Welles’ eye for detail, and his level of attention to the frame.

Young Kane is outside away from the other characters, representing his isolation in the world (or at least his isolation from his parents and the adults that surround him). By positioning Kane outside of the house, it indicates that this is a person who is an outsider to society. Inside, his mother and Mr. Thatcher (who are sat at the table) are positioned at the same height because they are clearly the ones in control over the situation and the child’s fate.

The beauty of this scene is the fact that we see how happy and innocent a child can be when they don’t have a single care in the world. This scene captures a child’s enthusiasm and wonder in the world, as they react to something as simply as the fresh snow. It is also a sad scene as we slowly see how the character of Kane develops, and it shows us that even great men have the most humble of beginnings.

by Bianca Garner

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