Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Citizen Kane" and the Modern Soul

By Emmanuel Lagouvardos of Moscow

The film Citizen Kane (1941) by Orson Welles is perhaps the best film ever. The central idea of the story is the trauma caused to the child's soul by his detachment from his natural environment, from his parents and his home. In essence it is about contempt of the family for the sake of money and wealth. This issue was raised in modern times with the absence of the mother from the home and the handing over of children to be raised by strangers (domestic workers, educators, teachers, psychologists, etc.).

The drama begins when the parents of young Kane, poor villagers, entrust his upbringing to strangers in the city in exchange for money, particularly the expectation of a rich life. The cause of the drama is suggested both by the word from the title "citizen", a resident of the city, and the last word of the hero, the name "rosebud", which is the name of the small sleigh with which Kane played as a young child, when he lived with his parents. The psychological trauma he suffered being raised by strangers, to whom he was given by his parents in exchange for money, never healed.

In our times this drama is interwoven with the life of the resident of the city. Anyone who lives in a modern city is, somehow, a "Citizen Kane", because they are forced to put their family in the background in relation to our professions. A "Citizen Kane" is also the woman who works outside the home and is forced to put her family in the back burner, for the sake of professional success.

Kane creates a financial empire, but he does not give it greater importance than his memory of "rosebud", the small sleigh, which he played with when he lived with his parents. In a few words, Kane is a man who gained everything and lost everything.

He is worthy of wonder, how such a man with such great abilities, could not look into his own soul, to see what made him suffer and to heal it. Perhaps his condition was precisely this "looking", his avoidance of looking into his soul.

The last shot of the film shows the cataloging of a number of objects in their packages, in a huge empty tower where lies the corpse of Citizen Kane, and where black smoke rises behind railings reminiscent of a prison.

Every person has in their soul a sacred space, a quality world, in which are placed persons who met their absolute needs, their father and mother. No one can remove them without incurably hurting their soul. This should be kept in the parents minds, that they should not place blame on each other when separating, causing incurable wounds to the souls of their children.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.