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ValentineXavier

Welles' F for Fake

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If you get Flix on cable, check the schedule for this rarely shown, interesting film, which I believe is the last feature length film Welles directed. Not his greatest, but lots of fun. Its a documentary, and I think it was influential, more than is realized. Flix is showing it several times over the next two weeks.

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Very boring. No good. Two 16mm films spliced together. Low budget. Bad quality. Kids in a high school film class could do much better.

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> {quote:title=JefCostello wrote:}{quote}

> I know it's a rare film.

 

That's because it's the worst "documentary" film you will ever see.

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Fred, admit it. You would never like anything shot on 16. *F For Fake* is a fine film, with lots of good tricks up its sleeve. No budget, true, but that doesn't hurt it in the least.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> Fred, admit it. You would never like anything shot on 16. *F For Fake* is a fine film, with lots of good tricks up its sleeve. No budget, true, but that doesn't hurt it in the least.

 

Here?s an appropriate IMDB review:

 

-----------------------------

 

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Welles Hypnotizes Critics., 8 May 2010

 

Author: leroybow from United States

 

Boy oh boy, I see a lot good reviews for this here. Okay, I love "Citizen Kane" and "Touch Evil" as much as the next guy, and Orson Welles was treated poorly by Hollywood, but that doesn't give him a free pass. Peter Bogdanovich was an early champion of this, right about the time Bogdanovich forgot how to make good movies. Coincidence? This is a sloppy, er..um.. nonlinear documentary about con men. It starts to tell its story about an art forger, but then it backtracks to his homeland of Hungary, then Welles tells a Hungarian joke, then it gets back to the main story, then Welles does a magic trick, then the camera oogles a hot chick for 10 minutes, then Welles waxes on about the wonderful Mr. Welles, etc., ad nauseum.

 

Genius editing? Come on now this is a mess. I think that Mr. Welles had a lot of haphazard footage that really didn't add up to much, and this is the result. He was able to piece together something not entirely incoherent and the subject is sort of interesting - hence two stars instead of one - but I certainly didn't witness a "deep" exploration of art and fakery with "masterful editing".

 

I suspect that if Welles had passed gas into the camera for 90 minutes his followers would have raved: "Neglected genius Orson Welles has done it once again, filming a gastrointestinal masterpiece years ahead of the Tom Greenesque oeuvre, perfectly capturing the flatulence of modern society! 'F for ****' sublimely cuts-the-cheese to a passionless universe!" Well, I say the Emperor has no clothes, this is crap and for Wellesian cultists only.

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I'd bet that there's a bad review for most any film YOU like on the IMDb too. That doesn't make it bad. I trust allmovie.com a lot more. It gives *F For Fake* 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But, your opinion is just that, and not dispositive. I reiterate: I don't believe that you would ever like ANY film made in 16mm.

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Maybe I'm easily fooled, but I liked it. I was completely sucked into the story of the forger and his work and connection to Picasso and so on and then Welles comes on and says, "Fooled ya!" I was sort of conflicted at taht point--I thought it was unneccesary (with some way to wrap up the plot, it could have been done as a straight movie, instead of documentary style--it was an interesting story), but then what he says at the end about fiction and forgery and so on was...porfound maybe? Or maybe it was only psuedo-profound and that's why I am conflicted?

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No, *F For Fake* was not Welles' greatest. I prefer *Citizen Kane* and Touch of Evil. Which puts *F For Fake* somewhere in my 50 favorite films.

 

An exploration into what constitutes Art and "reality" vs. "perceived reality". A combination of fiction, documentary and essay. And a huge homage to Welles' fascination with film as magic.

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You were tricked into thinking you were watching a ?good documentary?, simply because it had Welles in it. With no Welles, you would have never seen this trash.

 

The hand-held camera work was some of the worst I?ve ever seen. They used to call that style ?Cinema Verit??. Lol, that?s French for ?wobbly camera?.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> You were tricked into thinking you were watching a good documentary, simply because it had Welles in it. With no Welles, you would have never seen this trash.

>

> The hand-held camera work was some of the worst Ive ever seen. They used to call that style Cinema Verit?. Lol, thats French for wobbly camera.

 

 

I actually thought it was sort of unneccessary for it to have been a documentary--the story of the forger wasinteresting and might have made a good fiction, maybe a thriller-type movie.

 

I agree w/ you on the wobbly camera thing--I hate that! Another good reason to have made this a straight fictional movie.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> You were tricked into thinking you were *watching a ?good documentary?,* simply because it had Welles in it. With no Welles, you would have never seen this trash.

>

 

You have misunderstood the film very badly. The whole point of the film is that ALL film, even documentary, which is supposedly true, is artifice and deception. It pretends to be a documentary, then reveals that it is all lies.

 

Not in the same league with *Touch of Evil*, true. But, still an excellent film.

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Feb 12, 2011 11:06 PM

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> You have misunderstood the film very badly.

 

No I haven?t. It was a poorly made film. Actually two low-budget 16 mm films spliced together, with some rambling talk by Orson Welles.

 

All documentary films aren?t ?deceptive?.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > You were tricked into thinking you were *watching a good documentary,* simply because it had Welles in it. With no Welles, you would have never seen this trash.

> >

>

> You have misunderstood the film very badly. The whole point of the film is that ALL film, even documentary, which is supposedly true, is artifice and deception. It pretends to be a documentary, then reveals that it is all lies.

>

> Not in the same league with *Touch of Evil*, true. But, still an excellent film.

>

> Edited by: ValentineXavier on Feb 12, 2011 11:06 PM

 

That's what I meant by profound (or possibly pseudo-profound--I haven't decided yet) comments at the end of the film. I still think it would have made a good, straight fiction movie--like a thriller or crime drama.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> All documentary films arent deceptive.

 

I've seen more than one documentary on the making of nature docs, and how they contrive to show us 'reality.'

 

I love documentary film. Remember my support of TCM showing Jacques Cousteau? But, it is humanly impossible to give a completely accurate picture of anything, even from a single POV, especially in an hour or two. Compromises and various artifices are always necessary.

 

The point of *F for Fake* is to never take anything at face value, no matter how sincere it seems. The fact that the film is built around one already existing short doc just supports its thesis, and adds to its effectiveness.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> The point of *F for Fake* is to never take anything at face value,

 

Everybody knows that already, everybody but kids.

 

That?s one of the main points of all the Charlie Chan movies, and the Charlie Chan movies are much better. :)

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Google "tree octopus" and see what you get. Most people believe what they see in documentaries.

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_Fred_ said: Everybody knows that already, everybody but kids.

 

I wish you were correct, but adults often complain about the "inaccuracy" of fiction films, such as the portrayal of Hearst and Davies in *Citizen Kane* (to stay on the Welles theme).

 

P.S. Given your love for F for Fake, you should avoid Nicholas Ray's *We Can?t Go Home Again* (1976) at all costs.

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Oh boy; this film, as many have written, has the look of a high school production. That wouldn't be fatal if it had something interesting to say. Unfortunately, it does not. The only way I was able to get through it is because my parents came from Hungary, so I got off on various elements of the film, and it was amusing. Otherwise, I could never have sat through it.

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> {quote:title=BloodhoundMan wrote:}{quote}

> Oh boy; this film, as many have written, has the look of a high school production.

 

Has anyone here seen a documentary before??? This doesn't look much different from any one made in the 70s, in fact, the production values are clearly higher.

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> {quote:title=BloodhoundMan wrote:}{quote}

> Oh boy; this film, as many have written, has the look of a high school production. That wouldn't be fatal if it had something interesting to say. Unfortunately, it does not.

 

You are correct. These are Orson Welles' home movies and that is all. Extremely low quality, bad lighting, bad photography, 16 mm or maybe it's 8mm. Or maybe 4mm.

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