F for Fake ★★★★★

This isn’t true or fake or real or inauthentic. It’s just plain cinema.

Welles threatens to finally disappear up his own a-hole due that enormous ego of his but it works so perfectly in the context of the film, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. It’s about art and forgery, but also about the authenticity of identity and if something “inauthentic“ could be worth as much as the real thing. The performative ego of Welles looms large in demonstrating this as he tells the story of an art forger as well as himself.

Why do this? Because Welles sees himself in the forger. Whether it’s his War of the Worlds radio play or his film work, all art is artifice. Cinema is artifice. Film is inherently fake, but you know what? Who cares! Orson Welles doesn’t and neither should you. That’s what makes it, this, and art in general, so freakin great!

The film itself is too dense to totally sum up in one go so I can’t do that now, but I will say this is Orson Welles’ masterpiece and a perfect capstone to his career (his posthumous Other Side of the Wind was fine but way too muddled for it’s own good). It’s memoir docu-fiction/fact(?) at its absolute best.

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