Director Orson Welles
Year 1973
Starring Orson Welles, Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Oja Kodar
Run Time 89min
More Info IMDb

It's easy to think that Orson Welles peaked young with CITIZEN KANE and never made anything quite that good ever again. But it's not true. F FOR FAKE really is just that good.  In it, self-described charlatan and amateur magician Welles gleefully explores the tenuous line between truth and lies, art and illusion, essentially inventing a new genre of filmmaking in the process.

Beginning with portraits of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles creates a brilliant cinematic essay that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes—not the least of whom is Welles himself. Or to put it another way, he sets out to make a movie about FAKE!, a book about a faker whose author himsef was a fake, and perpetrates a fake to end all fakes.

This is a movie to make you fall completely in love with the idea of movies -- their inherent unreality, their amazing ability to sneak up on you and suddenly hit you with somthing deeply and profoundly true. It's about truth and beauty and all the things in the universe that really matter. It's formally dizzying, originating a huge number of new stylistic techniques that have become standards of avant-garde methods. It's also about just how great it is to spend time listening to Orson Welles tell stories. What a man! There's so much to enjoy just in the way he expresses himself. He's a true performer and his love of stories and lies and fakes and cons is electric.

Interweaving anecdotes about Howard Hughes's hidden sandwiches, an entire period of lost Picasso works, his own War of the Worlds broadcast, and the anonymous creators of the Chartres Cathedral, Welles turns the movie itself into an elaborate illusion that speaks to Picasso's famous saying: "Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."


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