F For Fake [Masters of Cinema]  [DVD]
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A collection of material brought together by master director Orson Welles, that serves to examine the idea of forgery and fakes. In it he features the work of forger Elmyr de Hory (who claims that most of the major collections of paintings in the world contain one of his fakes) and Clifford Irving (who wrote a fake autobiography of famous recluse Howard Hughes). There are stories of Welles' relationship with the granddaughter of a famous Yugoslav forger and personal reflections on the essence of artistic originality. Also featured are examples of fake and forgery from his own career (including the scandal provoking radio broadcast 'War of the Worlds').
From the Back Cover
How to describe a film so unlike any other ever made? In a nutshell... F for Fake opens with a couple of magic tricks, segues as though by sleight-of-hand into the story of master art-forger Elmyr de Hory and his relationship with biographer Clifford Irving (a sequence "remixed" by Welles with extant footage from François Reichenbachs documentary work-in-progress, Elmyr), then hones in on Irving when word gets out that his purported biography of recluse-mogul Howard Hughes is a first-class hoax in its own right. Here the film erupts in all directions, as Welles contrasts the sprawl of 70s Hollywood with the halcyon Tinseltown that produced Citizen Kane; contemplates the continent that provided him with an artistic refuge some 800 years after the anonymous construction of the cathedral at Chartres; and, lastly, recounts a meeting between that most un-anonymous of artists Pablo Picasso and Welles companion Oja Kodar, which took place in her youth, and during which...... The nutshell here clamps shut; the film itself, however, opens up onto infinite space.
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Top Customer Reviews
Attention, contrairement à la déscription au-dessus, il n'y a PAS de soustitrage sur ce dvd que j'ai acheté récemment (avril 2008).
The story becomes even more complicated: does Elmyr's biography lose authenticity if his biographer is himself exposed as a fraud - in a case linking him to the elusive Howard Hughes, the main inspiration for Citizen Kane? What happens when a string of fake Picassos are lauded as new masterpieces? And what if the fakes are accepted into canon and for their artistic value? It is all a wondrous, playful game, where Welles, who had himself started his career by feigning to be a Hollywood celebrity in Ireland (or so he tells us), and later with the War of the Worlds radio broadcast hoax, is narrating the film with his usual memorable lines ("He gave you a false check for a false painting?", "August in France... this is when someone could take the country by telephone... if someone would answer it."), at least when he isn't implicating Picasso in the forgery of his own works, or spinning a story about the myths and facts surrounding Hughes, himself and his mistress - the co-author and co-star of this movie.
Fake personas appear among real ones, persons are switched for one another, and the truth is used as liberally as fiction in a great, understated comedy. Nothing in this movie is trustworthy, since movies aren't trustworthy. After all, that's precisely what the movie tells about itself.
This really does belong on every cineaste's DVD shelf...
I loved this film, Orson gives a great performance
not his finest hour and a bit of a forgotten Gem
But for any fan of the big man a must
Welles's response to this indignity was to embrace it as if it was intentional. "I am a great faker," he would proclaim, "half of what I tell you will be lies." So it is that this film is stanced. It presents a pseudo-documentary about art fakery, claiming that many of the great galleries have been fooled by counterfeit works of art.
It is, should you decide to immerse yourself in its Vegas-busy intercutting, as unsettling as a first encounter with (sorry to bring it up) "Citizen Kane" -- how much of it is true? Is this based on a true story?
Of course "Kane" is not. But "F for Fake" may be. The film isn't going to tell you of course. The film is a trick. Welles isn't going to let you into the magic circle.
So we don't know if the art faker named Elmir ever existed, if this is an expose of something Welles learnt during his jaunts around Europe.
Ten years later Welles proclaimed he thought he was making an entirely new kind of film, and was very surprised at its failure. Of course he may be lying, but if you choose to entertain his thoughts, his statement has a whiff of truth.
The movie shows all the hallmarks of the meta-art that was going on at the time -- the restless forces that created Monty Python and The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin. These are possibly good touchstones to bear in mind when watching "F for Fake". Indeed, Welles worked with English comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor around this time, and gathered much of his footage for the film from the BBC.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No subtitles while the description says there are... Very disappointing for someone who doesn't master English very well....Published 15 months ago by Valdemar Vangeel
Anyone who enjoyed Orson Welles appearances on tv chat shows like Parkinson in the 70's should give this a look.great storytelling,a bit of magic and plenty of spoof. Read morePublished on 15 Oct. 2012 by gerrard
FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE KNOW THIS IS NOT FOR YOU IT,S THE GREAT MAN PATCHING UP SOME UNWANTED BBC DOCUMENTARY REEL,S,AND COMING AWAY WITH A INGENIUS LITTLE MOVIE,SOMEDAY ALL FILM,S... Read morePublished on 22 Nov. 2011 by A. Hussain
i have to admit that for most of the film's running time, i hardly understood what was happening from one camera shot to the next. Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2011 by jeremiah harbottle