In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.
A famed, and infamous, movie director, JJ Hannaford, dies in a car accident. He was about to release his latest movie and a documentary camera crew had been following him around in the days preceding his death. We see the events leading up to his death, the careers Hannaford destroyed, the enemies he made and his last film, The Other Side of the Wind.Written by
An Orson Welles film that isn't "an Orson Welles film"
Here it is, if anybody wants to see it.
Were you compelled by the character study of Citizen Kane? Were you thrilled by Touch of Evil? Then get ready for something unlike any of those or unlike anything. This is the mockumentary before Reiner or Guest, the improvisational dramedy before Apatow.
The entire point of this movie is that there's no point to this movie. Here is Orson Welles's most talked about movie about talking about a movie. His film about a film within a film. Orson Welles deliberately subverts Orson Welles to make an art film contained within an art film making fun of art films. John Huston plays John Huston playing Orson Welles as Orson Welles. Peter Bogdanovich plays himself as his own ripoff. There's a party celebrating a celebrated filmmaker making a film making fun of filmmakers. Nothing happens. So much happens. We learn everything about a legendary director about whom we learn nothing.
This film is a glimpse into the psyche of a filmmaker who wants to make films but has no idea how to keep making films. He wants to be commercially successful without compromising his integrity. He wants to make personal films for an impersonal audience. He wants to make something sexy despite being prudish. This movie isn't really for anyone; this movie is really for everyone.
It wasn't until the end of his life that Orson Welles realized the most important story he needed to tell was his own. It's a story whose only concern is that it was told, whether or not you like it. So watch it. Or don't. This movie doesn't care either way.
And if this review left you feeling confused, then I gave you an accurate impression of the film.
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