F for Fake
French-American documentary, colour, 1973, dir: Orson Welles, Language: English, Subtitles: Hungarian, 89’
Directed by Orson Welles
Screenplay by Orson Welles, Oja Kodar
Director of photography: François Reichenbach
Music by Michel Legrand
Cast: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, François Reichenbach, Clifford Irving
Production: Les Films de l’Astrophore, SACI, Janus Film
The starting point of F for Fake is art forgery. The ingredients for this docudrama are the art forgery pair who caused such a stir in the 1960s and 70s: the painter Elmyr (Elemér) de Hory, an émigré Hungarian who specialized in the Impressionists, and his biographer, Clifford Irving, who himself became a forger. Sándor Radnóti wrote of the film: “It is hard to describe Orson Welles’s film. Whether we call it a documentary, an auteur film, a workshop piece, or film essay, all these only capture a part. It is a feature film mixed up with interviews, hoax interviews, document collages, film etudes, body and face studies, directorial narration, as well as the film made – on the cutting table – in the film.” The work of Orson Welles is a reflection on the exploration of the forms of counterfeiting, a recognition of fakery and its meaning.
Restored in 4K in 2021 by La Cinémathèque française, in collaboration with Les Films de l’Astrophore, Documentaire sur grand écran, Cinémathèque suisse and l’Institut audiovisuel de Monaco, at Hiventy e L.E. Diapason laboratories from original negative and magnetic sound 35mm print. Restoration realized with the support of Hiventy and Fondation d’entreprise Neuflize OBC.