Orson Welles was a charlatan, a trickster and most defiantly wasnt adverse to a little ‘hanky pankying’ with the truth. His life had been lived by being the best fraud a person could be. Do not curse me for this statement, the great man himself confirms this. He was a magician and found the art fascinating. He was an actor and his metamorphosis into others, compelled him forward. Now in F for Fake, Welles explores the lives of two con artists. Two hanky panky swindlers, two cheats that defrauded with a grace and majesty par excellence.
Elmry de Hory was a world renowed art forger. He replicated Picasso, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Renoir. Selling them as the real deal and convincing serious art dealers the same. Clifford Irving, noted biographer revealed to the world the inner workings of the man. Perversely, Irving became a forger in his own right. He duped the world into believing Howard Hughes had gifted his life story to him. However Hughes had done no such thing and the ultra recluse come out to challenge this in public ground.
Seeing as truth and lies in cinema are never phrased as plain deceit or deception, we are taken to accept deviousness as essential components of cinema. Visual lies overlap with palatable reality. Humans are performers. They recreate. They reflect on verisimilitude. Welles unpicks this. Truth isn’t just for the viewer. It is for the constructor. They can create a fiction. They can assert a fact. The person telling the story, is as much the master of truth as those the story is about. Welles reflects this via Irving. A man that narrated a forgers life and in this very act, defined how the act and the person we consumed. When in turn Irving was revealed to be a faker as well, we define this via de Hory. A lie within a lie.
BLU-RAY Special Edition Features
- Restored digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Audio commentary from 2005 by co-writer and star Oja Kodar and director of photography Gary Graver
- Introduction from 2005 by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
- Orson Welles: One-Man Band, a documentary from 1995 about Welles’s unfinished projects
- Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery, a 52-minute documentary from 1997 about art forger Elmyr de Hory
- 60 Minutes interview from 2000 with Clifford Irving about his Howard Hughes autobiography hoax
- Hughes’s 1972 press conference exposing Irving’s hoax
- Extended, 9-minute trailer
- PLUS: An essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum