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3,067 Ratings

F for Fake

Vérités et mensonges

Directed by Orson Welles
France, West Germany, 1973
Documentary, Drama


Magic, forgery, fraud. Everything false is simultaneously exposed and celebrated in this free-form documentary/fiction that meshes in historical figures to blur the line. Loosely a documentary, the film operates in several different genres and has been described as a film essay.

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F for Fake Directed by Orson Welles
Welles, who revamped cinematic narrative with “Citizen Kane,” took another three decades to revolutionize the documentary form with this 1973 movie—but he did so with such wily exuberance and breezy philosophical depth that the later achievement may prove even more enduring. . . . With meditations on Chartres Cathedral and Pi¬casso, artistic drive and carnal passion, he turns matters of truth and fiction into a fun house of infinitely reflecting, self-magnifying, and self-concealing mirrors.
January 26, 2018
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Maybe it’s ironic that Welles’ greatest work may have been one of his boldest, most experimental films: the aforementioned F for Fake (March 1-2), a botched documentary about an art forger that he turned into a brisk, playful meditation on magic, duplicity and the enduring power of great art. If Kane ends on the question mark of how to assess one man’s life, Fake ends on the question mark of how to assess the greatness of any artistic achievement.
February 19, 2015
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The pleasure of cinema for Wells is not a preposterous ‘suspension of disbelief,’ but rather a sweetly sinister pleasure at seeing ourselves duped. Wells the rotund, paternalistic showman (this image like all images a myth, one which he feeds tongue in cheek in an auto-derisory reference to his legendary obesity by ordering on-camera a colossal lobster at his favorite Parisian seafood restaurant) reminds us that the cineaste is nothing more than a trickster, and his films but sleights of hand.
January 19, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film F for Fake

    Orson Welles was really cool. This fake-umentary is great. Orson Welles made some other great films, too. There was one where he has a newspaper and a sled and a big house and it's really cool and another where he plays a crooked cop, and a really cool film where people are shooting at each other in one of those funhouse mirror rooms. They keep shooting at each other, ya know, but they shoot the mirror instead. Cool.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film F for Fake

    Authentic masterpiece from one of the greatest 'forgers' of cinematic truth, who, like Elmyr, holds dear whatever he attempts to forge and imitate. Ultimately, Welles' venomous humor targets not 'authenticity' as such but the community of experts and their arrogance in resorting to authenticity as a criterion whilst forging it as part of their role and profession. The end of a rhapsodic era in a genuine work of art!

  • Ethan's rating of the film F for Fake

    This is a brilliant documentary that goes beyond the conventions of documentary to deliver a scathing piece on the art of illusion in its many forms. Welles was one of the masters who continually defied cinematic norms and made it look great.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film F for Fake

    Damn, I wish Welles had always allowed himself to be this stylish and playful! Truly wonderful, unconventional editing that you're barely able to process as it goes to work on you. The uncomfortably lascivious attitude towards Oja Kodar hasn't aged well at all, but otherwise, it doesn't put a foot wrong.

  • HSBilly's rating of the film F for Fake

    i really praise him for this, this is his masterpiece. art is a lies, of course. welles is a faker himself with the war of the world, but i have something in my mind right now, why he made this fake documentary to be his last major film?. is he trying to do something? is he hiding something? or is he doing some act that won't get revealed? maybe like andy kauffman's fake death? or.... nahh i'm just crazy, thats all.

  • Jason's rating of the film F for Fake

    The masterpiece - cinematic equivalent of Mr. Welles holding court around a dinner table, somewhat tipsy - that finally puts to rest any vestige of illusion (!) that communication, verbal or otherwise, is anything other than misdirection.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film F for Fake

    Fake can be just as good... The master gives us an exploration into artifice and authenticity, in a docu-essay that frames him as quite the cinemagician. Orson Welles was hubris personified, unequivocally, a straight up narcissist, but his intellectual braggadocio was a wee bit justified. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the arts was a delight and he clearly was a real envoy for the art of story. A true classic.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film F for Fake

    Ingenious. That's how you describe this film which is Welles' most creatively ambitious. A seemingly unstructured series of interviews, anecdotes and narration, whether false or true, show us Welles' ambiguous feeling towards the value of art. Is it pro or against it. Like all great documentaries, the end result is in our hands. I hope people move on from Kane and take note of this masterful forgery that has no equal

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