Sunday, April 8, 2012

Interactions between characters in "Citizen Kane"

In Garrand’s book “Writing for Multimedia and the Web”, a section of the first chapter is about the importance of characters in multimedia. The book states that sometimes, the main function of a character in multimedia is to guide interactions. For example, in the Nancy Drew computer game, telephone calls from her friends as well as other characters guide her in one direction or another. This is common in multimedia such as video games and films. Video games allow the player to have freedom over what they choose to do in regards to the game; film, on the other hand, limits the viewer because they are not able to control what happens next. Film viewers must rely on the characters in the film to progress the plot.
            One of the most classic films of all time is Citizen Kane. The narration of this film is quite unique because it is told from the perspective of many different people. Throughout the film, a reporter named Jerry Thompson is trying to find out the meaning of Kane’s last word: “Rosebud”. Thompson interviews many people who knew Kane well during his lifetime. Kane’s life unfolds through the memories of those who knew him. Specific details about certain characters also unfold through the perspective of the characters themselves; characters sometimes talk about themselves in the past, and sometimes they refer to other characters in the past. Through this method of storytelling, the plot of  “Citizen Kane” unfolds.
Garrand’s book states that multimedia is the combination of many media into a single piece of work. This could be a combination of video, text, audio, photos, etc., and so the film “Citizen Kane” falls into the multimedia category because it (along with most other films) incorporates video and audio. “Citizen Kane” is a great example of how characters guide interactions. In this sense, characters in the film “Citizen Kane” guide the plot of the film from one point to another. Garrand’s book refers to interactions between people and the web (or other forms of multimedia such as video games), but in “Citizen Kane”, the interactions are between characters in the film. As stated earlier, films limit interactions between viewers and the film itself because the viewers are not able to control what happens in a film. However, the same basic concept of characters guiding interactions can still be applied to films. The only difference is that with films, the interactions are between characters in the films.

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