Orson Welles: The One-Man Band (1995)
January 8, 2024 8:01 AM - Subscribe

For all his brilliance, Orson Welles was consistently plagued by the inability to secure funding for his own projects, leading to decades' worth of films left unrealized or partially completed. Documentary filmmaker Vassili Silovic follows Croatian actress and screenwriter Oja Kodar, Welles' creative partner and lover during his later years, as she reconstructs Welles' notes and what little surviving footage remains from these abandoned projects from the 1960s to Welles' death in 1985.

This doesn't show up on JustWatch, but I promise you it's streaming on Criterion, because I watched it there yesterday. There are multiple copies on YT, but one is dubbed in Spanish and the other doesn't have real subs for the German narration (though there is awful robo captions via YT).
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's wild that you can always tell whether any given doc was made with the cooperation of Welles' daughter Beatrice or his partner Oja Kodar. It's never both, and the woman who isn't working on the film is acknowledged minimally or not at all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:04 AM on January 8

Also: footnote from a person who married into a Hungarian family... Oja Kodar is indeed Croatian by nationality. She is also half-Hungarian by birth, was born with a Hungarian name (Olga Pálinkás), and absolutely looks and sounds Hungarian.

I find her a fascinating figure. The conventional wisdom on her is that she is "difficult" and the primary impediment to Welles' incomplete works seeing any kind of completion or release. However, when you see her interviewed, she seems very, very protective of Welles and his reputation, and she clearly loved him very much.

In 1992, she needed to raise some money to try and get her family out of rapidly collapsing Yugoslavia, so she went to Jesus Franco, a friend and collaborator of Welles, and enlisted him with finishing Welles' Don Quixote. He did a famously abysmal job, everyone hated it, and everyone blamed Kodar.

Given all of that, I do not have difficulty seeing why she was forever after hesitant of posthumous Welles projects.

She seems less like a deal-blocking crank and more like someone who is hesitant to let other people "finish" Welles' works and put his name on the results. She seems happier with projects like this one where people can see bits of the works and get a sense of what he was trying to do.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Too bad she couldn’t keep Bogdanovich from sucking the life out of Welles.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:23 PM on January 8

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