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F for Fake

Orson Welles
Vérités et mensonges
France, Iran, West Germany  1973 / 89’

Rarely screened, the last film by master storyteller Orson Welles is a layered treatise on documentaries, manipulation, truth and fiction, originals and forgeries. We begin with notorious and self-admitted art forger Elmyr de Hory, who specialized in copying Cézanne and Picasso. His exploits were popularized by writer Clifford Irving, who in turn wrote a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. Business magnate Hughes, in turn, was Welles’ inspiration for Citizen Kane. Welles weaves a fascinating demonstration of tricks, lies, double-meanings, and illusions. And it is in the garb of an illusionist that he greets us in the film’s opening sequence before taking us on an exploration of questions about truth and those who claim to be its keepers.

Jan Topolski


Sant Jordi Awards 1974 – Best Foreign Film

Orson Welles

Orson Welles was born in the town of Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1915. He passed away in 1985. His directorial film debut Citizen Kane (3rd NH)was a blockbuster on its release in 1941 and remains revered as one of the best films ever made. Welles was fascinated by questions of power and desire. No wonder, then, that he adapted Shakespeare for film so often (Macbeth, Othello, Chimes at Midnight, The Merchant of Venice). He was just as accomplished an actor, playing dozens of roles in his own and others’ films. He regularly did editing work on his films and his cinematographic accomplishments have passed into film lore – including the ballroom sequence in The Magnificent Ambersons (8th NH), the hall of mirrors scene in The Lady from Shanghai or the final confrontation in Touch of Evil. Welles’ mockumentary legacy is two-fold: first his famously deceptive radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and the much later film essay F for Fake.

Selected filmography

1941 Obywatel Kane / Citizen Kane

1942 Wspaniałość Ambersonów / The Magnificent Ambersons

1947 Dama z Szanghaju / The Lady from Shanghai

1958 Dotyk zła / Touch of Evil

1962 Proces / The Trial

1973 F jak fałszerstwo / Vérités et mensonges / F for Fake

Prepared by: Jan Topolski

Cast & Crew

director Orson Welles
screenplay Orson Welles, Oja Kodar
cinematography François Reichenbach
editing Marie-Sophie Dubus, Dominique Engerer, Orson Welles
music Michel Legrand
cast Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Jean-Pierre Aumont
producer Dominique Antoine, François Reichenbach
production Janus Film, SACI
sales Documentaire sur grand écran
language English, French, Spanish
colouration colour