Sunday, October 3, 2010

F for Fake

F for Fake (1974) is a pseudo-documentary/quasi-fictional film directed by and starring Orson Welles. It was his last major work before dying in 1985.

The film is primarily focused on telling the stories of Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving. The relationship between the two men (artists?) was established when Irving wrote a biography on Elmyr's life as an extremely talented (successful?) art forger entitled Fake! The two men are similar in the fact that it's hard to know if what they claim to be is entirely truthful. Both are known hoaxers, Elmyr with his replications of master artists's work and Irving with his alleged encounter with the then hermit Howard Hughes.

The story of the these two men lead the picture into a dissection of artistic value and authenticity. Pay particular attention to moments when said issues seem to be addressed head-on. Also consider Welles' role as narrator and creator of the film and whether or not this complicates his artistic merit.

There's a lot to this movie; a lot of radical claims about what can and what can't be accepted as art. The words in parenthesis above are follow by a question mark for a reason. Think about if such a title (artist/successful) can be applied to the film's primary characters (Elmyr/Irving). Also I feel it would be most valuable to come to class Friday with a thought out personal definition of what constitutes an artistic product.

Enjoy the movie!

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