Film and Politics assignment


The political implication in films has been depicted through a number of films. Political films have undergone various critical reviews by different film critics and the films under this genre has been recognized to achieve a different set of treatment in the world of cinema. The essay has been focussed to evaluate the use of politics in the film “Citizen Kane” that has been directed by Orson Welles in the year 1941. The political views in the film has been generated and recollected from his acquaintances and not from the protagonist himself.


If the definition of politics is the management of power and conflict, then my favourite movie is political because it has incorporated in it the progressive dilemma of authoritative power, depicted through the character portrayal of Charles Foster Kane. However, it is through the portrayal of subjective authority that has been denoted through the character, it is that power of authority that has been useful to delineate the emotional vulnerability behind the character development in the film. Directed by the Orson Welles in 1941, the film has portrayed varied dimensions of a political power through the regulation of conflicts and authority in the character of Kane. As opined by Mulvey(2017), the powerful dilemma in Citizen Kane has arrived from the position of Kane and his subsequent rise in his career at an early stage. However, that power has been comprehended to be disruptive through delineation of the situation that Kane had to go through, as Jerry Thompson goes on unreeling the life of Charles Foster Kane through his interviews and questions to each of those people who were close to the dynamic character in the film. The crux of this film screams of the political power incorporated in it. However in the opinion of various film critics, the reason for the failure of the film in the contemporary time at the box office has also been recognized to the relentless power of politics that has been incorporated through this character of Charles Foster Kane (Bessette, 2017).The failure of Citizen Kane as a commercial venture in the box office in the 90s is primarily due to its strong stench and inclination towards portrayal of the powerful conflict and dilemma of politics.

This political aspect has been portrayed throughout the film, but the brunt of this politics has not been served with optimistic review by the character. This implication can be drawn from the significance of Kane’s last words as he is about to delve into eternal sleep, “Rosebud”. Later in the film it has been deduced that in spite of the fact that the crux of this film is highly inclined towards political power and use of the power to establish oneself at a higher position and gain authority, the character has been seen to detest this power as he recalls his childhood memory of the sledge that he used to ride at his home in Colorado. According to de Oliveira (2016), it is that sledge that he recalled while taking his last breath which he used to call “Rosebud”. Thus it is towards the end of the film that Welles has inflicted his motive of political power, slashed by the same authority that he has shown through the political expertise of Kane. Thus the film being a complete political delineation, it is through the character portrayal of Kane, that the film has received its concluding juncture that, in reality has not glorified the power and management of politics. Hence it is through these subjective inscriptions, the political of Orson Welles has been able to establish the ways in which the agendas of politics has been used to show how a man who has every power in the world cannot be genuinely happy in his lifetime. Thus even though Charles Foster Kane has been recognized by people all through his life by the dictatorship of his political power to control people’s lives, the film has deliberately shown that it is not necessary that the man is actually the sum of his achievements (Stoehr, 2015). It is due to the political dilemma of power and the actual implication of Kane’s life, the producer has asked the reporter a simple yet complicated question that who Charles Foster Kane actually has been. His whole life has been dictated by the political dilemma of power and management, but he has been recognized to the child who was once happy with when he was united with “Rosebud”.

A major political implication in Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” is through the recognition of the myth of American Dream through his narrative. Citizen Kane has been one of the first movies to depict the American Dream as anything less than desirable. The crux of the American Dream is filled with political power and the inherent wish to absorb relentless power through the identification of Citizen Kane’s actions and specifically his active involvement in yellow journalism to disrupt other people’s lives through misuse of political power (Christensen & Haas, 2015). This American Dream, though glorified in the beginning of the film has been nothing less than a hollow for the main protagonist of the film. The financial affluence and material luxury has been able to fill the political power throughout the film. Citizen Kane presents a bleak view of all things that the American Dream represents, power, status and wealth that makes this film a political one. However the achievement and fulfilment of American Dream has not made him a happy person. In fact, in the film it has been noticed that Kane has been found revealing that if not for his wealth and material pleasure, he would have been a great man, a good husband, a good father and an upstanding citizen. Thus it is through the portrayal of the bleak American Dream, Welles has been successful in delineating the major implication of political power through the character depiction of Citizen Kane (Hartley, 2015). The political views have also been delineated through conflict between Kane and Thatcher when Mr Thatcher appears on screen, testifying in a Congressional investigation that he is a communist. Thatcher denotes that he stands for capitalism. Thatcher represents Mrs Kane’s newfound wealth which she utilizes to send her son for leading a better life. Thus aspects of political implication formulate the core of the film. The materialism is also a staunch symbolism in the film that denotes the dilemma of power and conflict as Kane uses his power and material luxury and attempts to ameliorate the insults of the real world (Hofer & Busch, 2017). Yet, the two possessions that carry meaning for the politically powerful man in his death bed is a simple snow globe and Rosebud, the sledge that he remembers from the days of his youth.


The film “Citizen Kane” can therefore be established ideally as a political film. The film has undergone the various dimensions of its depiction through the life story of Charles Foster Kane that has been administered by political power and management. However the ending of the film has concluded that political power ad material luxury cannot formulate the vitality of one’s life. Thus in the end of the political dilemma has been removed but that does not make the film less political in approach. It is through the identification of political outreach in the life of Kane that the film has achieved its ultimatum, depicting his whole life.

Reference List

Bessette, E. (2017). Mulvey and Trump on Citizen Kane. New Review of Film and Television Studies15(4), 410-414.

Christensen, T., & Haas, P. J. (2015). The Making of a Message: Film Production and Techniques and Political Messages. In Projecting Politics (pp. 33-54). Routledge.

Cook, D. A. (2016). A history of narrative film. WW Norton & Company.

de Oliveira, P. D. (2016). “Rosebud” and the “Glass Ball” Two Tricks to the Myth-Making of Citizen Kane. 2016 NCUR.

Hartley, J. (2015). Narrative, political. The international encyclopedia of political communication, 1-9.

Hofer, J., & Busch, H. (2017). Why Citizen Kane was unhappy: Motive?Goal Incongruence. Social and Personality Psychology Compass11(8), e12330.

Mulvey, L. (2017). Citizen Kane. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Stoehr, K. L. (2015). Nihilism in film and television: a critical overview from Citizen Kane to The Sopranos. McFarland.

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