willow’s review published on Letterboxd:
F for Fake now holds the spot of my 1,100th film! And what an inspirational choice indeed..
F for Fake is an interesting work that examines the conception of the three F’s: fakery, forgery, fallacy. While the film contains subject matter of this topic, Welles truly reveals this concept through the film’s physical presentation - F for Fake uses the documentary genre to exploit the documentary genre. But I think we could even move further to say F for Fake is exploiting cinema as a whole by pondering how fakery “should” and “shouldn’t” be used in today’s society - because after all, cinema itself is an accepted romanticized form of fakery, we embrace the idealized world of cinema.
The film’s most prominent feature is editing, and as our Soviet filmmakers of the 1920’s demonstrate, montage editing builds upon our own assumption of what is real and what is deemed “fake.” The Kuleshov Effect presents itself in Welles' manic editing, especially profound in one moment: our subject Elmyr persistently tells us he did not sign any piece of art, and we cut to Irving who stares in silence. Again, we cut back to Elmyr who repeats his statement and with a few more cuts in between, our two subjects wait for each other to respond, until Irving claims that Elmyr in fact did sign artworks. We can see that these two persons are in separate footage, not within the same space nor the same moment of time, and yet, it comically feels as though Irving is intentionally reacting to Elmyr’s persistency. This mere interaction and playful form of editing - no matter how aware we are of the space - forces us to incorporate two shots into one, indicating the fundamental truth of cinema, that cinema is fakery, forgery, and fallacy.
Thanks Orson Welles for reminding me that cinema can be a powerful inventive form of media (but were the 72 clips of your gf walking really that necessary).