Filmmaking Genius Orson Welles | Kevin Holmes | Original Creators


Citizen Kane is frequently praised, and justifiably so. Its artistry, and its unusual independence from the studio system of the time have been mentioned often. This short article also brings attention to one of Welles’ lesser known late works, the semi-documentary F for Fake (1973), which brings to the fore one of Welles’ major concerns: the line between truth and fictionality.

Citizen Kane: “As well as its visual artistry, the film was narratively unconventional with a non-linear story and was also notable for bucking the trend of the studio system of the time. Instead of being controlled by this system, which was at its zenith, Citizen Kane was made with complete freedom so Welles and his collaborators were allowed to do whatever they liked—which was unprecedented.

They also harnessed the technological achievements and breakthroughs of the time to create a truly cutting-edge piece of filmmaking. To add to all these manifold glories it’s entertainment as high art, an art film that has mass appeal with a gripping populist story—one which follows the scandalous life of media mogul Charles Foster Kane (inspired by William Randolph Hearst)—and comes complete with a great twist ending, ticking all the boxes you need, thus confirming its inclusion in film studies classes ever since.”

❦ “Another of his projects which revealed his mischievous side was his sort-of-documentary F for Fake (1973), which focuses on the story of art forger Elmyr de Hory and his biographer Clifford Irving, who was himself partial to creating fake works, notably a biography of Howard Hughes. It’s a mind-bending film which constantly plays with the idea of truth, challenging the viewer and confronting them, toying with what’s real in both Hory’s work, Irving’s role as his biographer, and the story that the film presents to us. You’ll left not knowing what’s fiction and what’s fact.”


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