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F For Fake [Masters of Cinema] [1973] [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Oja Kodar
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Feb. 2007
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I5XN88
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,531 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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 Reichenbach’s 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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
for the non-English speaker: although the above description mentions optional English subtitles, I have recently purchased this dvd and there are NO subtitles whatsoever (april 2008).

Attention, contrairement à la déscription au-dessus, il n'y a PAS de soustitrage sur ce dvd que j'ai acheté récemment (avril 2008).
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F for Fake is part documentary about art forgery, and part a forgery itself - but a forgery that doesn't take itself seriously, and is completely forthright about being one. Using documentary footage about art forger Elmyr de Hory, aggressively cut and edited to create a sort of disorienting hall of mirrors effect, Welles provides a glimpse into a world where fakers are enabled to forge the works of famous artists precisely by the authority of the experts who validate their forgeries as authentic, and the complicity of both art dealers and buyers in maintaining the illusion.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a playful piece of meta-documentary film-making, something that showed remarkable prescience about our current era of dubious reporting, Twitter myth-making and Wikipedia fabrication. It interweaves fact and fiction in a manner which is both seamless and exhilarating. Welles, using his most powerful attribute - that velvet baritone, is able to maintain a compelling narrative throughout. It is so full of innovation, of ideas bigger and bolder than the central premise, that it continues to be one of Welles' freshest and most timeless cinematic enterprises.

This really does belong on every cineaste's DVD shelf...
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Format: DVD
Wow
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
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Format: DVD
This is a marvellous entertainment, and Orson Welles's description of it ("Not a documentary, but a new kind of movie") is nothing but the truth. One uses that phrase advisedly, because truth is at the heart of this one-of-a-kind film - truth and dreams, which phrase, incidentally, is the film's French title. Welles could spin elaborate fabrications, especially about himself, as if he'd invented the practice, and pompous biographers are still getting trapped, nearly thirty years after his death, in his ingenious inventions; but there are great truths at the heart of most of his fictions, and that's certainly true of this movie. As Welles fascinatingly ruminates on (amongst much else) forgery, magic, Howard Hughes, Chartres Cathedral and his own career, he draws us into a meditation on creation, on reality and illusion, which will intrigue and stimulate you maybe forever, and, to prove his point, he also manages one last prestidigitation of breathtaking outrageousness. This film is a treat, it's just lovely.
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Format: VHS Tape
This little curio was one of the last completed projects Orson Welles worked on, and it marks the stage in his career where everything had caved in on itself. Money was not forthcoming from the studios and the big fellow's output was finally being strangled by red tape.

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.
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