“Citizen Kane” is the story of a massive media mogul turned politician who amassed all the wealth and power in the world, but at the end of the day only craved a childhood pleasure. Sound like anyone we know?
Documentarian Errol Morris interviewed Donald Trump for a segment for the Oscars and asked him about Orson Welles’s 1941 masterpiece, which Trump has previously called his favorite movie. But Trump’s answer makes Morris think Trump may have missed the point.
“I asked him explicitly, ‘Do you have any advice for Charles Foster Kane?'” Morris told TheWrap. “He says, ‘Yes,’ that he would tell Charles Foster Kane, ‘Get yourself a different woman’ — as if the whole message of the film is he should just replace his wife with another one.”
Trump spoke in the segment about the significance of the word “Rosebud” spoken on Kane’s deathbed, which (70-year-old spoiler!!!) was the name of Kane’s sled when he was a boy.
“‘Citizen Kane’ was really about accumulation, and at the end of the accumulation, you see what happens, and it’s not necessarily all positive. Not positive,” Trump said in the video. “I think you learn in ‘Kane,’ maybe wealth isn’t everything, because he had the wealth, but he didn’t have the happiness.”
Morris believes he and the President see the film quite differently, and that the fictional Kane, played by Orson Welles, isn’t all that different from the real-life Trump.
“I’m reminded of what I consider perhaps the greatest film review ever written, which is Borges’s review of “Citizen Kane,” Morris said. “Kane, for Borges, is an empty vessel. A kind of simulacrum of a human being rather than the real thing. A kind of combination of unassimilated wants and ids. He comes quite close to my vision of Donald Trump.”
Watch the video of Trump talking about “Citizen Kane” above.
Morris stopped by TheWrap to discuss his documentary “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (2016),” which opens in select theaters on Friday. Keep an eye out for more to come from our interview with the Oscar-winning filmmaker.