Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 340: Sat Dec 9

F For Fake (Welles, 1975): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of a superb "Light Show' season devoted to screening from prints over at the weekend of December 8th to 10th at the ICA. More details here.

ICA introduction:
Please walk into the light – the ICA, MUBI and Little White Lies are proud to present a weekender of movie masterworks screened on glistening 35mm celluloid. The films we have selected are all outliers in some aspect or another, and they are all the product of genius directors looking to capitalise on the possibilities of this young medium. They ask not what cinema can do for them, but what they can do for cinema. And even though each title offers a deeply personal insight into the inquiring, philosophical, playful and subversive minds of their maker, they also speak about cinema itself. What does it mean to make a movie? To create a world? To build a person?  The line-up includes Jacques Tati’s dance through the Paris of his dreams in Playtime (1967), a devilish treatise on truth in Orson Welles's F For Fake (1973), an eccentric, soul-searching confessional in Agnés Varda's The Beaches of Agnés (2008), a limo ride through the history of cinema with Leos Carax's Holy Motors (2012) and a kaleidoscopic feminist dirty bomb in Vera Chytilova’s Daisies (1966).

Chicago Reader review:
'Orson Welles's underrated 1973 essay film—made from discarded documentary footage by Francois Reichenbach and new material from Welles—forms a kind of dialectic with Welles's never-completed It's All True. The main subjects are art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Welles himself, and the practice and meaning of deception. Despite some speculation that this film was Welles's indirect reply to Pauline Kael's bogus contention that he didn't write a word of Citizen Kane, his sly commentary—seconded by some of the trickiest editing anywhere—implies that authorship is a pretty dubious notion anyway, a function of the even more dubious art market and its team of “experts.” Alternately superficial and profound, the film also enlists the services of Oja Kodar, Welles's principal collaborator after the late 60s, as actor, erotic spectacle, and cowriter, and briefer appearances by many other Welles cohorts. Michel Legrand supplies the wonderful score.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the most impressive part of the film, Welles' paean to Chartres Cathedral.

Here are Welles's words: 'Now this has been standing here for centuries. The premier work of man perhaps in the whole western world and it’s without a signature: Chartres. A celebration to God’s glory and to the dignity of man. All that’s left most artists seem to feel these days, is man. Naked, poor, forked, radish. There aren’t any celebrations. Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe, which is disposable. You know it might be just this one anonymous glory of all things, this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation, which we choose when all our cities are dust, to stand intact, to mark where we have been, to testify to what we had it in us, to accomplish. 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 and 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. (Church bells peal…)'

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