F for Fake – review

Orson Welles's penultimate film is a twinkly-eyed meditation on fake, front and movie make-believe

Orson Welles's penultimate film, from 1975, is a playful, personal essay, full of worldly cynicism and twinkly-eyed charm, a film about illusions with apparently no illusions of its own,but one that conceals a wintry sadness about Welles's life in the make-believe and trickery of the movies. Speaking direct to camera, as he edits and re-edits movie footage – other people's footage and his own – Welles presents the remarkable story of the notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory, who was living in some style in Ibiza, and whose biography was being written by the American author and journalist Clifford Irving. Irving, apparently intoxicated by the occult fabrication of talent and identity, went on himself to be a faker, scamming the American publishing world with what purported to be Howard Hughes's diaries. Welles meditates on fake
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