A documentary about fraud and fakery.
A documentary about fraud and fakery.
The silver screen. The projector lights up and we tune in. Visuals, sound, and collective communion flow out of the screen like an intense heat wave. These images, these feelings, these ideas; how real are they really? The cinema has always been praised for its spectacular bursts of originality and imagination, carrying the worries, pains, and troubles of the audience away into a clouded fog, a fog that vanishes simultaneously along with the remembrance of reality.
However, what if the fog itself is an illusion, crumbling the very fabric of the cinema into a dusty whiff of salty popcorn? Orson Welles' F for Fake doesn't just tear the concept of deception to shreds, but it also assembles a new form;…
Well. Uh... This was a documentary.
My brain is fucked
I think maybe we – collectively, as a species – need to come to terms with the idea that Orson Welles was the best person ever.
He speaks with import but without arrogance. He's brilliant, he KNOWS he's brilliant, but he behaves as though you're on the same page. He gives you that credit, and not to embarrass you. He's the antithesis of pretension. "I began at the top, and I've been working my way down ever since," he says in this, his final film. That's still a mighty high bar.
F for Fake is the most unconventional and fascinating documentaries I've ever seen. Orson Welles uses a fractured narrative combined with dazzling illusions and intricate interviews to weave a complex tale of blurring the lines. Magic, forgery, fraud, everything false is covered and dissected in this short but very real documentary. Welles utilizes certain stories of historical figures to help blur reality into his story as well, providing an edifying history lesson that is equally entertaining. A dizzying carnival fun house of trickery and documentary.
Orson playfully messes with us...
Orson Welle's F for Fake is a dazzling essay film, bending the rules of cinema and documentary to weave a loose narrative of art forgery and long-winded conspiracy. The result is simply one of the most revolutionary films Welles ever made, building off his famed interest in reclusive Hollywood billionaire Howard Hughes (the inspiration for Welles' own Citizen Kane) and his anti-establishment motto that tackles critics and experts to lagitmize art and particularly cinema as a type of thievery and fakery. Does something being untruthful make it any less art? Is this film art or merely one big practical joke? Orson Welles film invokes endless discussion and dissection but he vey well could be making fun of you from beyond the grave for partaking in it.
“In the right mood, perhaps Elmyr has just a few regrets as I have to have been a charlatan. But we’re not so proud either of us, to lay any superior claim to have been very much worse than the rest of you...”
It’s hard to say exactly what I just saw, but by the end I was choking up in pure awe of the craftsmanship — the rhetoric, the editing, the story... true... and false... what a masterpiece.
I think this film is more of film essay than a documentary. Also, it is a "witty" film (it probably inspired Michael Moore).
There was nothing like it before this film and there will never be anything like it ever again.
I can see why lots of people dislike this film, it truly jumps all over the place, it's got lots of trickery, and it's avant garde editing and cinematography takes a bit to get used to. But at the end of the day this film is just Orson Welles telling stories, and Orson Welles was very good at telling stories.
I also want to note that I noticed the War of the Worlds "clips" featured here are fake and totally not the same from the original broadcast, something I would have never noticed if I hadn't just listened to the original earlier today. And a brief glance at the Wikipedia article tells me there's plenty more tricks to this film than one viewing could possibly clue you in to.
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In F for Fake, a free-form sort-of documentary by Orson Welles, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully reengages with the central preoccupation of his career: the tenuous lines between illusion and truth, art and lies. Beginning with portraits of the world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles embarks on a dizzying journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes—not the least of whom is Welles himself. Charming and inventive, F for Fake is an inspired prank and a clever examination of the essential duplicity of cinema. ~ Filmstruck
"It's beautiful, but is it art?"
Orson Welles’ documentary F for Fake is in many regards a righteous classic, as Welles’ with his strong output – and some striking quotes spitting from his mouth – dissects questions about fraud, the inherent value of art when you can make an identical copy and how much a viewer buys into the (supposed) facts in a documentary despite how critical one should be towards sources and especially these days. It’s a fascinating topic and as an aspiring teacher I’m very interested in the importance of that criticism, which makes it all the more fascinating when Welles play illusionist with his audience…
sarah 🌙 101 films
title says it all