89 minutes, France-Iran-Germany, 1973, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema


For anyone growing up in the ‘70s, the abiding image of Orson Welles was not the cinematic deity behind Citizen Kane, but the ever-urbane raconteur on the TV chat-show circuit. The same decade however, also brought one of his most captivating films, the insouciant and deliciously uncategorisable F for Fake.

Asked to narrate a documentary on then-famous art forger Elmyr de Hory, he snaffled the footage for his own ends, assembling a discursive, hugely entertaining celluloid essay on the presence of hoodwinkery in art and cinema. As an accomplished stage magician himself, it also afforded him the opportunity to show off his own sleight-of-hand, acting as charismatic host.

The result was to prove his last completed feature, and it’s a worthy farewell, summarising a lifetime’s preoccupation with the mechanics of perception and cultural value. Just remember though, when he says ‘Everything you will see and hear in the next hour will be the truth’… the film’s actually 89 minutes long. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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