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[FOUNTAIN]What When Xanadu Comes True?

May 17,2001
"Citizen Kane" (1941) is widely agreed to be one of the world's greatest movies. The brilliant American movie director, Orson Welles, directed and played the role of the protagonist of the movie at the tender age of 25. Many critics have praised the movie for its composition, the way the story unfolds, the acting and the cinematography, whose quality and technique have as yet seen no match.

The movie begins with the mysterious utterance of the word "rosebud" by Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon who at the time of his death owns countless newspapers and magazines. As a newspaper magnate, Kane lived a life befitting his power and money, but the word that comes into his dying mind is rosebud, the name of a sled that he played with when he had yet to make his fortune and was still young and poor. The lonely end of a human being who sought money and power throughout his life compels viewers to reflect on the meaning of life.

Charles Kane was loosely modeled after a real-life American media mogul, William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951). At the peak of his power, Hearst owned 28 newspapers, 18 magazines, three radio stations and a telecommunications firm, and is one of the two men credited with creating "yellow journalism" - newspapers that aimed to capture readers with sensational stories and illustrations. Hearst built a mansion on 100,000 hectares of land in California, reproduced as "Xanadu" in the movie. Hearst housed his mistress, the actress Marion Davies, in his palace, while Kane constructs his Florida mansion "Xanadu" for his mistress-turned-second wife, Susan Alexander.

Silvio Berlusconi, an Italian media magnate, earlier this week won his country's general election, becoming Italy's 59th prime minister since the end of World War II. This will be his second stint as prime minister in seven years. Mr. Berlusconi rose to be Italy's richest businessman, beginning with a construction business and expanding into media, retail and professional soccer businesses. His fortune is estimated at around $12 billion, ranking him 14th richest in the world according to Forbes magazine. His empire ranges from three television broadcasting stations and the popular Panorama magazine to the daily Il Giornale and Italy's largest publisher, Mondadori. His second wife, once an actress, lives in a 70-room mansion in Milan.

Berlusconi is the man who has everything. He has realized his dream of entering politics - a dream that failed to come true for the Americans Hearst and Ross Perot and the Korean Chung Ju-yung.

In "Citizen Kane," Charles Kane regretfully says that if he had not become rich, he could have become a great man in a true sense. What will race through Citizen Berlusconi's mind in his last moments? I hope Citizen Kane's regrets do not become his own.



by Bae Myung-bok




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