7.8/10
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F for Fake (1973)

A documentary about fraud and fakery.

Directors:

Orson Welles, Gary Graver (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writer:

Orson Welles
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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Oja Kodar ... Herself - The Girl
François Reichenbach François Reichenbach ... Himself - Special Participant
Elmyr de Hory ... Himself
Clifford Irving ... Himself
Laurence Harvey ... Himself
Edith Irving Edith Irving ... Herself
David Walsh David Walsh ... Himself
Paul Stewart ... Himself - Special Participant
Richard Wilson Richard Wilson ... Himself - Special Participant
Joseph Cotten ... Himself - Special Participant
Howard Hughes ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Drewitt Richard Drewitt ... Himself - Associate Producer (as Richard Drewett)
Alexander Welles Alexander Welles ... Special Participant (as Sasa Devcic)
Gary Graver Gary Graver ... Special Participant
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Storyline

Orson Welles' free-form documentary about fakery focusses on the notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory and Elmyr's biographer, Clifford Irving, who also wrote the celebrated fraudulent Howard Hughes autobiography, then touches on the reclusive Hughes and Welles' own career (which started with a faked resume and a phony Martian invasion). On the way, Welles plays a few tricks of his own on the audience. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Iran | West Germany

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

12 March 1975 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

F for Fake See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An excerpt of Welles' legendary 1930s 'War of the Worlds' broadcast was recreated for this film; however none of the dialogue heard in the movie actually matches what was originally radio broadcast. See more »

Goofs

The word "practitioners" is misspelled "practioners" in the opening credits. See more »

Quotes

Orson Welles: With your permission, a bit of verse by Kipling: When first the flush of a new-born sun fell on the green and gold / Our father Adam sat under the tree and scratched with a stick in the mold / And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart / Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, 'It's pretty, but is it Art?'
See more »

Connections

Featured in Arena: The Orson Welles Story - Part 2 (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Behemoth of Self-Reference
19 October 2014 | by kurosawakiraSee all my reviews

I've seen almost everything there is to see from the man, and if I'm convinced of something it's of the fact that Orson Welles was a genius. Not only a man with promising skill, who made a few great films and wandered the desert for the rest of his life; no, he made utter masterworks to the very end, actual innovation, reinvention and rethinking what cinema is, and I don't think we give him enough credit for what he has done if we speak of him only in relation to "Citizen Kane" (1941) or speak of him as a tragic figure who could have made a difference.

The last of his feature films, only followed by "Filming 'Othello'" (1978) five years later, "F for Fake" (1973) is such a remarkable tour-de-force trip through the secret passageways of the possibilities of cinema I think it'll take one lifetime to really get over it: hyper-sensory to the extreme, "Fake" shows that bodacious cinema is accomplished not through expensive digital effects (not that there's anything wrong with expensive digital effects per se, note!) but through rhythm and expectation in editing. Promises, not explanations. Hesitation and release. The narrative is a profoundly multidimensional behemoth of self-reference it's near- impossible to delineate them all in relation to each other, an attribute that reiteratively underlines the impossible cognitive capacities Welles had to guide the film material into the film it now is, all this both premeditatedly before and during shooting but especially in the editing room.

Imamura's "Ningen jôhatsu" (1967) and Kiarostami's "Nema-ye Nazdik" (1990) join this film in enriching our lives and making them a little bit less… fake?

It's become a running joke that this film, too, was badly received at the time. But you know, "The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius." Wild words, Oscar, but I agree.


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