F for Fake (PG)
15 September 2012
Orson Welles’ final completed film is a work unlike any other. Struggling to find funding for a full-length feature, Welles resourcefully took an unfinished documentary about two notorious con-men – the art forger Elmyr de Hory and his biographer, Clifford Irving, who went on to forge the Howard Hughes diaries – and used it as a springboard for his own investigation of the art of deception. Presiding over the film like a master of ceremonies, Welles does not judge his subjects, but rather gleefully presents himself as a fellow ‘charlatan’. This is the director’s most personal, confessional film; it is perhaps also his most complex. Many filmmakers have tried to deconstruct their chosen medium, but few have surpassed F for Fake in terms of insight, playfulness or wit. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: this is also a profound meditation on painting, acting, authorship and the intangibility of truth.