Citizen Kane was narrated by more than one person. The story of Kane's life unfolds in overlapping segments that add more information as each narrator adds their story. The entire story was told in flashbacks. Each narrator had different opinions of Kane, so the viewer gets to see Kane from many different perspectives. Because the narrators are telling their stories at an older age they are sometimes unreliable and often contradictory.
Also, the stories are told out of sequence and sometimes overlap each other. One technique used in Citizen Kane was deep focus. Deep focus is when everything is in the frame in focus at the same time, instead of having only people and things in focus. Deep focus allows the filmmaker to show overlapping actions.
With deep focus there are not many close-up shots of facial expressions or other details. Another technique was the "wipe", where one image is "wiped" off of the screen by another. Low- angled shots are also used throughout the film to show many different angles of the sets. Finally, a lighting technique that is used frequently during the movie is shadows.
One of Citizen Kane's main themes was the idea that childhood is lost. Throughout the entire film, Kane was seen trying to recapture his youth. It seemed as though he wanted to go back and do everything over. I think the one thing he wanted more than anything else was for someone to care about him and make him feel important. Because he was separated from his parents when he was so young he didn't get to have the childhood experience of being loved and taken care of by his parents. When he became an adult he was very needy for attention and love.
He tried to buy his affection from everyone in his life. A person's childhood is very important and can define who they become as an adult. In Kane case he did not build good relationships as a child; therefore as an adult he did not know how to love someone without showering them with money and gifts. People could apply Kane's story to their personal experiences by learning that money and material possessions won't make you happy, but the people in your life will..