Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

(V?rit?s et mensonges)


Year: 1973
Country: France/ Iran/ West Germany
Run Time: 90 minutes


The trouble with Orson Welles is that people view him either as a "genius" or as a joke. To the average American, Welles is that hammy "celebrity" who often makes an ass of himself on such TV programs as "The Dean Martin Show," where his pompous "readings from the classics" rival those of Hoolihan and Big Chuck. Abroad, and especially in France, Welles is lionized as one of America's artistic giants. In Paris, F FOR FAKE played to capacity crowds at four theaters simultaneously, and was acclaimed a masterpiece by the critics. Will the real Orson Welles please stand up? The man is undeniably something of a necktie salesman, but he also is a bona fide genius, possibly America's greatest living film director. Throughout his career, he has been fascinated by the arrogance of power, by the overreacher theme. Deception and mystery are commonplace elements in his movies. One of the most visually stunning scenes from "Citizen Kane" (1941) shows Welles walking through a house of mirrors: we see literally dozens of images of the man. Similarly, in the celebrated fun house shootout from "The Lady From Shanghai" (1948), two deadly killers empty revolvers at each other, only to shatter a series of distorting mirrors. In F FOR FAKE, Welles proclaims: "Truth is a lie. Don't believe in anything - it's all done with mirrors." Indeed, in some respects his latest movie is autobiographical, although ostensibly it centers around two other celebrated hoaxers, Clifford Irving and the famous art forger, Elmyr de Hory. The film deals with an ancient problem of aesthetics, first articulated by Plato: If art is "fictional" (i.e. untrue), what possible good can result from such "lies?" F FOR FAKE explores this question with a dazzling display of cinematic virtuosity. Before he's through, Welles wreaks havoc with our conventional moral and aesthetic classifications. Art, he concludes, is both true and false: It's "a lie which helps us to understand reality."

Orson Welles

Francois Reichenbach

Christian Odasso and Gary Graver

Marie-Sophie Dubus and Dominique Engerer

Principal Cast
Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Edith Irving, Francois Reichenbach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Wilson, Paul Stewart, Sasa Devcic, Gary Graver, Andres Vincente Gomez, Julio Palinkas, Christian Odasso, Francoise Widoff

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