Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In Orson Welles' free-form documentary, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career-the tenuous line between truth and illusion,... more » art and lies. Beginning with portraits of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles goes on a dizzying cinematic journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes-not the least of which is Welles himself. Charming and poignant, F for Fake is an inspired prank and a searching examination of the essential duplicity of cinema. Criterion's two-disc DVD edition also features an introduction by Peter Bogdanovich, audio commentary by director of photography Gary Graver, an hour long documentary on Welles' unfinished projects, a documentary on the life and works of de Hory, and the theatrical trailer.« less
Chill out, will ya? It's just Orson having a little fun
Ludix | Upton, MA United States | 03/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I thoroughly enjoyed this amusing quasi-documentary. But then, I'd sit through 90 minutes of Orson Welles sitting in front of a white sheet talking about anything. Has there ever been a more spellbinding narrative voice? His voice-over for the trailer of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE made it sound like the Second Coming of Christ!
Some of the other reviewers here sound as if they could use some Ex-Lax. Chill out, will ya? This isn't supposed to be a profound statement. The old man's just having a little fun.
Having said this, I will immediately contradict myself by noting that the scene in which Welles ruminates on the longevity of art while contemplating Chartres Cathedral touched me deeply. In the context of his tattered career, and the ever-growing stature of his masterpiece CITIZEN KANE, it suggests that Welles at last attained some measure of peace with his life and achievements.
The DVD itself looks and sounds terrific."
A Cinematic Juggling Act
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 02/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"His last major work as a filmmaker, Orson Welles' "F for Fake" (1973) survives as a rough-edged yet provocative essay on the art of fraud. In this instance, we have three noted subjects: art forger extraordinaire Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving (the novelist who conned the world as Howard Hughes' "authorized biographer") and Welles himself. Editing plays a vital role as the Great Orson maintains his semi-documentary juggling act for 90 minutes. Fittingly enough, "F for Fake" reveals more about the creator of "Citizen Kane" than the minor curiosities he examines. Welles ends his cinematic odyssey with an affectionate wink."
A Revelation, and a Classic
no longer a customer | 04/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I am in total agreement with all the rave reviews already here, I wanted to add one point. "F For Fake" is not only a delightful and profound film, it will also be a revelation for those who believe that Welles's later career was just one long steep decline. In its small way, "F For Fake" is as wonderful as any film Welles ever made. An absolute charmer and an unexpected late masterpiece from the man who virtually created the techniques of sound film with "Citizen Kane.""
If only all Welles DVD releases were of such quality ...
A C SHIELDS | melbourne , australia | 01/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Criterion's release of this film is extremely good , but one should expect that for the price . They seem to have access to people and other supporting materials that other companies do not , but then again I'm sure these are factored in to the price .
Whilst being a fan of Criterion , I certainly do not buy all their releases , as I don't have that much disposable income . Also , some of the films are not to my taste . I don't wish to view a film simply because it is well regarded by critics , among other reasons .
Being a Welles fan and owning some of the Criterion Welles laserdiscs , I was very keen to own their first Welles-directed DVD . I was not disappointed .
This film is of its own genre and is interesting because of Welles's appreach - the film seems to have a personality itself . It is by no means serious - I find it fascinating in parts . Subjects like fakes and fraudulence need to be explored . Some great points are made about the art world and its pretensions , which I really enjoyed .
The documentary about Welles's unfinished projects is worth the price on its own , so if you don't like the film buy it for that feature .
This DVD comes highly recommended , to say the least. It is not on the same level as other Welles films , but it is worth your while if you are a fan ."
WHAT IF THERE WERE NO "EXPERTS"?
no longer a customer | 01/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all the fury and venom expended on the question of what is art, this excellent film of Welles should be required viewing. Welles reminds us that, ultimately, the only art critic you need to worry about is yourself. Listen very carefully in this film to Welles recitation of Rudyard Kipling's poem; the crux of this film is contained in those lines. We are, each of us, Masters and Artists. What does it matter what anyone else thinks? Secondly, this film is also a little frightening. Almost 30 years after its making the tyranny of "experts" in everything from litigation to art continues to confound us. We continue to sacrifice common sense and our own autonomy to the "experts" . Finally, this film is just plain fun. Fake? EVERYTHING IS FAKE... everything is art... in spite of "experts"."