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Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

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Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Old 08-30-09, 09:13 PM
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Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

sorry for the short notice. This week's films was picked by zombeaner. Let the discussion begin.


Last edited by gglass4269; 09-07-09 at 01:33 PM.
Old 08-30-09, 11:19 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Yay! I want to see what other people think. I think this is a fascinating exercise regarding the nature of truth. Welles' experiment is pretty inventive, not to mention entertaining! Gimme some more opinions! I'll be watching this tomorrow I think.
Old 08-31-09, 12:21 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Gonna have to scramble for this one. I thought The Ruling Class was this week, had that mofo qeued up on XBOX Live.
Old 08-31-09, 10:50 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

^It was supposed to be the 3rd film!. I have no idea what happened and who changed it all of a sudden.
Old 08-31-09, 10:55 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

The Ruling Class was set for next Monday (9/7), and there was nothing set for this week.
Old 08-31-09, 12:36 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

The Ruling Class is set for next week. I noticed that this week (an oversight of mine) did not have a film. F For Fake was a recommendation from zombeaner, and I decided to put it into this week so we could have something to talk about. Out of the whole Criterion collection, it's a rather easy title to find.
Old 08-31-09, 07:32 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

All i know is I was told to "pick the 3rd film we watch" and thats what I did. Whatever works though I suppose.
Old 08-31-09, 08:45 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

*sigh* I hope someone actually discusses the film at some point.
Old 08-31-09, 11:11 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Can we stop the treadcapping please? If you guys have any concerns, please leave comments in the CFC thread.
Old 08-31-09, 11:15 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Originally Posted by zombeaner
Yay! I want to see what other people think. I think this is a fascinating exercise regarding the nature of truth. Welles' experiment is pretty inventive, not to mention entertaining! Gimme some more opinions! I'll be watching this tomorrow I think.
I was actually highly disapointed by this film. With Welles, it's really hit or miss. I think I was expecting more, how should I say it, an original movie by Welles. In actuality, I rather disliked the overuse of the documentary about the art forgers. My favorite part is Orsen's speech at the end about the girl and the Picasso paintings, because It didn't rely on previously shot footage. I was really excited to see this, "Orsen Welles essay on fakery", but instead got a rather boring documentary about art forgers with a Welles commentary.
Old 09-01-09, 01:20 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

The take expressed above is not dissimilar to critics who (at the time of it's release in 1924) said that Buster Keaton's SHERLOCK, JR lacked originality. WHAT? You gotta be kidding! This is Orson's most unusual and original film - not a boring moment in it! He shows total command of film editing like a master painter with this. This is his most 'fun' film. I absolutely adore it. It's an 'editor's film' - a form that he was just beginning to explore and have fun with. The multi-layered cutting reveals, in full bloom, Welles' brilliant mind, playfulness, humor, intellectual curiosity and true genius.

Last edited by MVerdoux; 09-01-09 at 01:25 PM.
Old 09-01-09, 03:52 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Loved it. As mentioned above, the editing is fantastic. Welles takes five diifferent stories, and weaves them together brilliantly.

The Criterion DVD is equally excellant, with a great transfer and some outstanding special features. The straight-up documentary Almost True adds more depth to the Elmyr de Hory story, the 60 Minutes interviews and Hughes radio interview to the Irving/Hughes story, and the documentary on Welles is very well done. There is also an extended unseen trailer, an introduction from Bogdanovich, a film commentary, and an insert essay.

This is perhaps the best overall Criterion package that I've explored so far, but that is only a few dozen so far.

Great choice Zom, and a nice trio of films to start my foray into this month's Criterion Challenge. I've ignored pretty much all of Welles' work, and have decided to concentrate on him this month.
Old 09-01-09, 04:35 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

I aim to re-watch this tomorrow. In the meantime, I first saw the film shortly after the disc came out. My dusty recollection of that viewing is having to adjust my mindset. It wasn't the puckish mix of documentary and fiction so much as the on-the-fly feel of the film. I immediately loved Welles' trickery and playful manipulation, whether it was the magic trick, the monologue over his wife's walk past the leering men or the dissection of the forgers' gamesmanship. Keep in mind again, it's been a long time since I've watched it, so I can't vouch for those comments. That said, I felt manipulated in a way that film rarely does for me because no matter the film's shortcomings (the re-watch should remind me of those), I still felt that while the movie didn't deliver what I'd expected, it chuckled at me that I should expect more. The other Welles I blind bought around the same time was Mr. Arkadin, of which I expected too much.

Side note: Around the time I bought this my then-girlfriend and I saw Richard Gere's "The Hoax." Not great but not bad, the movie crosses paths with the forger in "F for Fake." I lent "The Hoax" to a co-worker and he enjoyed it on the surface, but found it confusing. I'd intended to lend him "Fake" afterwards, but based on his confusion decided not to. I found myself doing some rewinding during "Fake" on my second viewing, too.

Anyhow...

Last edited by IronWaffle; 09-01-09 at 06:08 PM.
Old 09-01-09, 08:23 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

This is perhaps my favourite Welles film - not necessarily the best, but the one I enjoy revisiting the most. There's a certain playfulness that he brings to his approach, assembling and reassembling the components. By the end, my mind had been opened to new ways of considering film and the telling of stories. And seeing it for the first time with an audience, in an actual cinema, was perfect - especially for hearing the reactions when the 'penny dropped' at the end. Subsequent reading about the film has indicated just how much careful planning went into this apparently casually put together film - this is one movie where the contextual extras greatly add to the experience of (re)watching. It's Welles performing magic, in front of and behind the camera.

Having said that, it's one of the few Criterions I don't own, I have the Masters of Cinema UK edition (which is great) instead.
Old 09-01-09, 10:07 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

How do you guys think that it has held up over the years? I have no doubt that this was higly original, and "mind bending", if you will, but since its debut, many films have explored the breaking of the fourth wall with the audience, as well as questioning what's reality. Holy Mountain, Funny Games, etc, etc.... I think, by viewing these films before F For Fake, Welles' film lost a little bit of the impact that first time viewers in the theater had. The same can be said, I guess, about people watching Star Wars for the first time in today's world. Endearing films yes, but they don't have that same sense of freshness and innovation that they did when they first came out.
Old 09-02-09, 04:14 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Well, still fooled me right to the end. I was really intrigued and then the ending was very unexpected for me. Well, if you are trying to guess the ending, you might guess it, but I always hate to do that.

As for the commentary, Gary Graver's thoughts are on the Masters Of Cinema disc, different from the Criterion. He does feel a little ill during the commentary, as he says. He died not long after that was recorded....
Old 09-02-09, 04:26 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

I had the same reaction as gglass in that I didn't really care for this film. Try as I might, I just can't see the editing magic that so many here have lauded. I don't doubt that the magic is there (this is Welles, after all), but for some reason I am unable to appreciate it and the film just feels ramshackle to me.

Maybe it's watching Oja walk down that street a few minutes too many, maybe it's the dreadful 70's fashions, maybe it's those damn wine commercials I saw when I was a kid ("We will sell no wine before it's time"). The film just doesn't click for me, although it is a handsome package. I did love, love, love the nine minute trailer. It struck me as a hilarious FU to the studio.
Old 09-02-09, 12:53 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

glad to be joining the club with the 3rd week's selection - i couldn't do the first 2 as i didn't have those in my collection (yet).

this is my take on what i just saw:

Orson Welle’s final movie is neither a movie nor is it a documentary in its true essence. Peter Bogdanovich, in the DVD intro of the film, calls it an ‘essay-documentary ‘and I got to admit I don’t even know what that means.
But after watching it, you will realise that it’s one long practical joke that Welles plays on the unsuspecting audience and I have to say I really enjoyed having the rug pulled out from under me at the end of the 90mins
F for Fake is like Welles making a forgery out of his own masterpiece – nicely done
Old 09-03-09, 09:45 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

A little off topic, but I've fallen in love with Orson Welles this week.

If F for Fake wasn't brilliant enough, I finally watched Citizen Kane and Mr. Arkadin. And his acting in The Third Man. Wow. I have a sort of a save-the-best-for-last philosophy sometimes, and it looks like I was right. This has been an amazing week.
Old 09-03-09, 11:41 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Yup, I love all three of those too. "Touch of Evil" is also essential. The opening shot is jaw-dropping in its execution.
Old 09-07-09, 12:44 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Three: F For Fake

Me and my wife just watched this, and I really loved it, as it gained serious momentum towards the end (a good sign for me for any movie). Very funny, extremely clever, and who would have thought a documentary could be sexy at times!!? I was a bit put off at first by what I thought was excessive editing/cutting (bordering on pretentiousness), but it was clear soon after that he was just simply having a lot of fun making the movie, and that infectiousness, surrounded by some very romantic imagery and lively conversation (like a good dinner party) was a great joy to watch. Whoever picked this, kudos, I have a new (and always growing) Criterion favorite. It makes a very cool (and boldly targeted) statement about the so called "experts" of art and the art world, and how perception is everything. Awesome film!

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