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Re: F for Fake

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  • samadams@earthlink.net
    Watched it last night coincidentally. The complexity of the editing is indeed stunning, although maybe fluid isn t the right word, since it s obviously
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 2, 2005
      Watched it last night coincidentally. The complexity of the editing
      is indeed stunning, although maybe "fluid" isn't the right word,
      since it's obviously intended to call attention to itself,
      underlining the extent to which editing is essential to the forgery
      of cinema. Welles as narrator/host arranges "meetings" between
      characters filmed at different times and places, but whose
      conversations seem to respond to each other all the same. (There's
      one moment in particular where Cliff Irving seems to be staring down
      De Hory disapprovingly, although there's no suggestion that they were
      actually part of the same conversation -- although, conversely, they
      might have been.) I was particularly taken with the movie as a kind
      of anti-auteurist gesture, focusing on the extent to which the
      "signature" (with all that implies) falsifies an "expert" our
      understanding of art. De Hory may paint indistinguishably from
      Picasso, but when he signs "Picasso" (if he does, which he is cagy
      about) he lies, and therefore is inferior, while the authorless
      Chartres is held up, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, as the ultimate work of
      art, perhaps as a work with no (known) creator, it can only be
      examined in se and per se. I wonder how much this sentiment has to do
      with the burden of being "Orson Welles," the prodigy who never
      followed through and the profligate who couldn't finish a picture,
      dogged by inescapable canards and unable to have his work evaluate
      for itself. (Jonathan Rosenbaum says in his Criterion notes that
      Welles deliberately avoided any shots that were "Wellesian," as if
      trying to erase his own signature.) And yet, he delivers some of his
      narration at a heaping cafe table surrounded by admirers, clearly
      enjoying the benefits of being Orson Welles as well -- just another
      way in which the movie contains an antithesis for every thesis.

      Sam
    • David Ehrenstein
      ... I was particularly taken with the ... Never forget the primary source for Fa For Fake is footage shot not by Welles, but Francois ( Those Who Love Me Can
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 2, 2005
        --- samadams@... wrote:

        I was particularly taken with the
        > movie as a kind
        > of anti-auteurist gesture, focusing on the extent to
        > which the
        > "signature" (with all that implies) falsifies an
        > "expert" our
        > understanding of art. De Hory may paint
        > indistinguishably from
        > Picasso, but when he signs "Picasso" (if he does,
        > which he is cagy
        > about) he lies, and therefore is inferior, while the
        > authorless
        > Chartres is held up, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, as the
        > ultimate work of
        > art, perhaps as a work with no (known) creator, it
        > can only be
        > examined in se and per se. I wonder how much this
        > sentiment has to do
        > with the burden of being "Orson Welles," the
        > prodigy who never
        > followed through and the profligate who couldn't
        > finish a picture,
        > dogged by inescapable canards and unable to have his
        > work evaluate
        > for itself.

        Never forget the primary source for "Fa For Fake" is
        footage shot not by Welles, but Francois ("Those Who
        Love Me Can Take the Train") Reichenbach. Welles
        wasn't even present during the shooting of the bulk of
        what constitutes "Fa For Fake."

        (Jonathan Rosenbaum says in his
        > Criterion notes that
        > Welles deliberately avoided any shots that were
        > "Wellesian," as if
        > trying to erase his own signature.) And yet, he
        > delivers some of his
        > narration at a heaping cafe table surrounded by
        > admirers, clearly
        > enjoying the benefits of being Orson Welles as well
        > -- just another
        > way in which the movie contains an antithesis for
        > every thesis.
        >
        Well that's anpother kind of signature. For by the
        time of "F For Fake," Welles had become associated in
        the public mind as a TV raconteur on the Johnny Carson
        and Merv Griffin shows. "F For Fake" takes this TV
        persona into a new area.

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      • Peter Henne
        Sam: I don t think fluidity need imply smooth narrative. This word is often applied to certain abstract paintings, e.g. Joan Mitchell s. So why not the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 2, 2005
          Sam:

          I don't think "fluidity" need imply smooth narrative. This word is often applied to certain abstract paintings, e.g. Joan Mitchell's. So why not the self-reflexive shuttling of F, which does all make a kinetic sense?

          David:

          Agree that Welles' refusal to ease into a signature is itself a trait of the man's style. In related ways Welles worked to avoid falling into a predictable pattern. Here's an excerpt from his 1958 Cahiers du Cinema interview:

          "I work, and have worked, with the 18.5 solely because other cineastes have not availed themselves of it. Cinema is like a colony: there are few colonists. When America was wide open, when the Spanish were on the frontier of Mexico, the French in Canada, the Dutch in New York, you can be sure that the English made their way to places that were still unoccupied. I don't prefer the 18.5: I'm simply the only one to have explored its possibilities.... the essential job of every responsible artist is to cultivate what lies fallow.... If everyone worked with a wide-angle lens, I'd shoot all my films in 70mm, because I take its possibilities very seriously."


          Welles was willing to cast off many of those visual qualities long associated with him, and in F he did so to a striking degree, though he didn't go the 70mm route.

          Peter Henne


          David Ehrenstein <cellar47@...> wrote:


          (Jonathan Rosenbaum says in his
          > Criterion notes that
          > Welles deliberately avoided any shots that were
          > "Wellesian," as if
          > trying to erase his own signature.)>


          Well that's anpother kind of signature. For by the
          time of "F For Fake," Welles had become associated in
          the public mind as a TV raconteur on the Johnny Carson
          and Merv Griffin shows. "F For Fake" takes this TV
          persona into a new area.






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