Stranger than fiction: notes on Citizen Jake

Features Philippines Mar 23, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Atom Araullo’s behind the scene

By Erika Cruz

In 1941, a film titled Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles) told the story of a reporter trying to uncover the meaning behind the titular character’s dying word. As he embarks on his search for answers, he discovers a complex personality and his rise from obscurity to affluence before dying a rich but lonely man. The reporter eventually gives up his probe, concluding that the mystery behind “Rosebud” will remain as such. But as the film ends, the camera reveals that “Rosebud” is actually the trade name of the sled the young Kane was playing with the day he was taken away from his family by a wealthy banker.

We fast forward to 2018 to see the much anticipated Citizen Jake. While in Citizen Kane we do not see the reporter’s face (we only see his shadow or hear his voice), Citizen Jake brings to the forefront a reporter as the film’s main character.

No other time could have been more appropriate for celebrated filmmaker Mike de Leon to return from his 18-year filmmaking hiatus. Citizen Jake isn’t only an elaborate portrait of a journalist seeking his “Rosebud” amid untruths; it is a scathing depiction of a country mired in corruption, violence, and collective forgetfulness.

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