The third film in my To be Watched challenge brings me to probably the most famous and critically acclaimed film I had never seen. Produced, directed, written and starring Orson Welles, Citizen Kane always seems to be voted number 1 in best film lists.
In 1871 at his parents’ boarding house, 8 year old Charles Foster Kane is playing with his sledge in the snow. His parents are arranging for him to go and live with financier Walter Thatcher, so that he can have a proper education. From a boy with a humble start he builds a newspaper empire. The film opens with the elderly Kane on his deathbed at his palatial estate Xanadu. ‘Rosebud’ is his final word. A mystery drama unfolds as a reporter pieces together the events of his life through a series of flashbacks and interviews and tries to discover the meaning of ‘Rosebud’.
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Phew! This has taken me so long to read and I’m so relieved to have finished! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it but it just went on and on. I was almost weeping by the end, I just wanted someone to take his pen away! The biggest problem for me was that it felt like two books – the saga of War and Peace and then Tolstoy’s philosophy. Which was incredibly wise and true but pages and pages of it!
Written between 1863 and 1868 and set during the Napoleonic Wars (1805-12), the story of the Rostov’s and Bolkonsky’s and Pierre Bezukhov, was terrific. I loved all the Russian names, the soirees in Petersburg, the palaces, and the huge family gatherings. The cossacks, troikas,snow, dancing, nuts cooked in honey, herb cordials, ‘flat cakes made from dark flour and buttermilk’, roasted chicken, liquors and mushrooms, Mitka playing the balalaika, racing sleighs and droshky and muzhiks.
Continue reading “War and Peace”