Cinema’s Legacy


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  • Ranked at the top of AFI's list of the greatest films of all time, Orson Welles' portrait of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane (a thinly veiled stand-in for William Randolph Hearst) is brilliant, blistering and beautiful. The story moves through the tragedies and triumphs of Kane's life, from a happy childhood in snowy Colorado cut short; to a towering ascendance in the newspaper industry; a dysfunctional marriage with a tone-deaf wife he tries desperately to mold into a great opera singer; and a cloistered existence in his palatial home Xanadu. Welles' superb cast, many from his own Mercury Theatre, is made up of some of the most vibrant stars of the 1940s, including Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane and, of course, Welles himself, who perfectly captures the aging Kane with a deft mix of sensitivity and ferocity. Gregg Toland's innovative cinematography is now the stuff of legend, putting the deep focus technique on the map with shot after shot of crisply layered foreground and background images. If this is your first or 100th time seeing this landmark film (CITIZEN KANE never tires from repeat viewings — indeed, it only becomes richer), make sure to catch it at AFI FEST 2016 in a restored DCP, courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics. — Beth Hanna

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    The screening will be followed by an AFI Master Class, featuring a celebrity and academic panel to be announced.

  • Considered one of the most innovative filmmakers of all time, Orson Welles (1915–1985) directed such titles as THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942), TOUCH OF EVIL (1958), THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947), THE STRANGER (1946), MACBETH (1948), THE TRIAL (1962) and CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (1965). A prodigious talent, he was also an actor, writer, and producer, and made landmark achievements in theater and radio. Welles received the 3rd AFI Life Achievement Award in 1975.

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