F FOR FAKE (the final directorial project the legendary Orson Welles completed during his lifetime)USA | 1974 | 85 mins | Not Rated | Documentary
Wednesday January 29, 2014
Martha's Vineyard Film Center
$12 General Admission, $9 Member,
$7 child age 14 or younger
Doors Open for admissions 30 min. prior to screening
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Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotten, Francois Reichenbach, William Alland, Peter Bogdanovich
The final directorial project the legendary Orson Welles completed during his lifetime, F for Fake is less a documentary than an example of cinematic free association on the topic of trickery. Much of the film is in fact drawn from other sources, most notably an unfinished documentary by Francois Reichenbach on the notorious Elmyr de Hory, whose extremely skillful forgeries of famous paintings caused scandals amongst art collectors and experts. In an additional bit of irony, de Hory’s interviewer is author Clifford Irving, who became infamous due to a forgery of his own: a falsified autobiography of Howard Hughes. Welles openly re-edits and manipulates this footage, using it as a spine for his own commentary, arguing that there is an extremely close relationship between art and lying, and citing instances from his own career to prove the point. Through a combination of documentary and staged footage, Welles attempts to illustrate the artifice behind all filmmaking, even that of a supposedly non-fiction variety.
Loosely a documentary, the film operates in several different genres and has been described as a kind of film essay. Far from serving as a traditional documentary on Elmyr de Hory, the film also incorporates Welles’s companion Oja Kodar, notorious “hoax-biographer” Clifford Irving, and Orson Welles as himself.
In addition to the 85-minute film, in 1976 Welles also shot and edited a self-contained 9-minute short film as a “trailer”, almost entirely composed of original material not found in the main film itself.
"A charming, witty meditation upon fakery, forgery, swindling and art, a movie that may itself be its own Exhibit A."
- Vincent Canby, The New York Times