F for Fake

  • Directed by Orson Welles
  • France/Iran/West Germany, 1976, 89 mins.

F for Fake, a pseudo-documentary revolving around the shadowy world of art forgery, sees Welles at his most globe-trotting and literally magical. Beginning as a kind of portrait of notorious forger Elmyr De Hory, the film quickly spirals away from any linear narrative, instead becoming a loose tapestry of forgers and fakers, not least of whom is Welles himself. “Hoax-biographer” Clifford Irving and Welles’ muse Oja Kodar appear at various points; the pace steadily increases, and the narratives interweave to the point of dizzying disorientation. “There is fascination and poignancy in seeing Welles’ elegant retreat into this hall of mirrors.”—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.

Genres: Documentary, Drama, Mystery

Other Films by Orson Welles

The Immortal Story

Welles’ first color film—significant considering the development of scores of color processes since the 1920s—tells the story of Clay (Welles), a wealthy but aging Macao merchant, who, upon hearing a story in which a young sailor is paid to impregnate an elderly man’s wife, decides to recreate the legend for himself. The problem: he’s unmarried.

Chimes at Midnight AKA Fallstaff

His third “finished” Shakespeare adaptation, Chimes at Midnight, sees Welles dulling his edges a bit in offering up a highly poetic vision of Falstaff, a recurring character in the Bard’s works. Falstaff, the rotund sidekick of the devious Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), plays audience proxy as the Prince ascends to the throne following the defeat

The Trial

Welles translates one of Franz Kafka’s best-known literary works into a disorienting black-and-white cinematic world of crime and punishment. After relatively anonymous bank officer Josef K. (Anthony Perkins) is spontaneously arrested and charged with an unnamed crime, he struggles in vain to discover exactly what it is he has done. While Kafka’s novel is famed

Confidential Report AKA Mr. Aradkin

Bearing key similarities to The Third Man, Welles’ noir concerns small-time smuggler Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden), who overhears a dying man whisper the name “Gregory Arkadin.” Armed with this clue and in search of blackmail money, Van Stratten works his way into the inner circle of well-to-do amnesiac Arkadin. Arkadin hires Van Stratten to

Touch of Evil

Celebrated as one of the greatest film noirs ever made, Welles’ mid-career morality tale sees him writing, directing, and starring as detective Hank Quinlan, a corrupt, exalcoholic cop working just north of the US-Mexico border. The legendary three-minute tracking shot that opens the film introduces us to Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston), a Mexican police detective