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Directed by Orson Welles

France 1968 60 mins.

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. Enter Virginie (Jeanne Moreau), the daughter of Clay’s former business partner, “hired” to be Clay’s wife and enact his twisted fantasy. However, Virginie has a score to settle with Clay and the myth turns upon him. “Thematically and poetically it exemplifies Welles’ late lyrical manner. . . It’s awkward yet exquisite.”—Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: Orson Welles at 100