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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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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 »

Filming Locations:

Almería, Andalucía, Spain See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,206
See more on IMDbPro »

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

Hidden within a montage of footage of Howard Hughes is one brief shot of a man disembarking from a ship who looks similar to Hughes, but is actually the actor Don Ameche. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Orson Welles: Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash - the triumphs, the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life: we're going to die. "Be of good heart," cry the dead artists out of the living past. "Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing." Maybe a man's name doesn't matter all that much.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Northern Exposure: Rosebud (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strange but excellent
2 April 2011 | by KnightsofNi11See all my reviews

Where to begin with this strange little film here? Well basically it is just a documentary by famed director Orson Welles. In this documentary, which has been tagged under the style of "free form," Welles discusses fraud and fakery and the role it plays in art. He does this by telling the story a fraudulent painter and his biographer. The painter paints famous paintings that have already been painted by other well known names like Picasso, Matisse, and Da Vinci, signs them using the original painters name and claims they were painted by that painter. He then sells them as if they were originals. His biographer is in on the hoax as well, documenting his life as if he were really a painter. All the while Orson Welles narrates about the profundities of playing tricks on the mind and how we are so easily fooled by tricks that lay right under our noses. He even plays a few tricks of his own on his audience so that the film accumulates into one big allegorical maze. It is head scratchingly fascinating.

The structure of this film can be very difficult to get behind as it is very quick and has almost a stream of consciousness type of flow to it. You have to keep up and you have to really take in everything Welles throws at you from start to finish. The movie is only an hour and a half but there are copious amounts of information thrown at you that you must follow to understand it all by the end of the film. Welles does do a fantastic job at putting the film together though and his meticulous nature in editing becomes very evident after the first ten minutes of the film. I'll admit that I wasn't as invested in this film as I probably should have been, thus I got lost a few times but was, for the most part, able to catch back up and understand it by the end.

This film is such a strange departure for the norm for Welles. If you are expecting a Citizen Kane type Welles film you will be disappointed. If you are expecting something different than anything you've seen before then you should be very entertained. Welles is having a great time with this film, boasting his profound ingenuity in all things art and human nature. He wants very much to provide a strange and multi layered experience for his audience and he definitely accomplishes that. He knows what he wants to do with this film and he keeps it very lively and mind bending. The films quick pace never lets up and Welles never ceases to narrate the film with the utmost spite and poignancy. This is a film for those who want to think, and think hard.

There are a lot of things at the beginning of this film that could put you off from wanting to finish it. The structure, flow, and tone of the film is all very bizarre and takes some effort to adapt to, but once you do you won't regret it. In fact after that point you will be sucked into the film and you will surely have a keen interest in finding out what it is all leading up to. And when you do find this out I guarantee it will put a smile on your face and make you realize just what a profound genius Orson Welles was. He does something so different with F for Fake, so how could you not like it?


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