F for Fake (1973)
October 17, 2022 2:09 PM - Subscribe

Documents the lives of infamous fakers Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving. De Hory, who later committed suicide to avoid more prison time, made his name by selling forged works of art by painters like Picasso and Matisse. Irving was infamous for writing a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. Welles moves between documentary and fiction as he examines the fundamental elements of fraud and the people who commit fraud at the expense of others.
posted by johnofjack (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What is this? A documentary? A fiction film? A new kind of film, as Welles told Jonathan Rosenbaum?

Whatever it is, it's audacious and I love it.
posted by johnofjack at 2:11 PM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

"I'm a charlatan!" is surely in Welles's top ten moments. Maybe top five.

My enjoyment was slightly dulled by happening to have remembered the runtime of the film at an inconvenient moment, but oh well. Still worth your time.
posted by praemunire at 2:25 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just read "My Lunches with Orson" by Henry Jaglom. It's an interesting book because of the way you waver from thinking Welles is a genius to thinking he's a... phony. It reminded me that I had never seen this movie, so I watched it. As a movie about forgery, I'd put it on a par with an all-night argument among drunk undergraduates. As a movie about where Welles was at this time of his life, it's excellent. If you can get the Criterion edition that includes commentary from his girlfriend, definitely do it.
posted by acrasis at 3:15 PM on October 17, 2022

I can't believe I didn't know this wasn't posted yet!

This is literally my single favorite movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:01 PM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Orson Welles created a new language of film editing in this movie. It's amazing to behold.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:10 PM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

FanFare you're (gloriously) killing me these days!
posted by rhizome at 10:21 PM on October 17, 2022

“FanFare you're (gloriously) killing me these days!”

DirtyOldTown is due much praise for his enormous number of posts lately — I've wanted to publicly make a note of this somewhere. (I looked for the talk page link in the mobile site version yesterday and couldn't find it, as it happens.)

F for Fake is just great, I've got it in my permanent collection.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:58 AM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have to confess, the first time I saw it, he fooled me all the way.
posted by Grangousier at 4:24 AM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

This movie is pretty incredible in a lot of ways, except for how weird it is about women (it's very weird about them!)
posted by dis_integration at 9:39 AM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

On the strength of your recommendations I watched this. And realised after a while that I've started watching it before. And then I also didn't care about the observations about fakery, or about Elmyr de Hory. Or about his observations about Howard Hughes. Even though I do find Howard Hughes interesting.
It reminded me of some postmodern novels. If the story is "everything is just a story", why should I care?
Well at least Orson Welles probably had a good time on Ibiza.
I'm glad you do like it. Just a datapoint that not everyone does.
posted by jouke at 10:34 AM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

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