Skip to main content

ORSON WELLES: THE ONE MAN BAND

Germany / France / Switzerland, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Vassili Siovic

Documentary filmmaker Vassili Silovic's candid exploration of various Orson Welles projects is a fascinating tribute to his idio­syncratic talents and was made possible with the co-operation of Oja Kodar. Welles longtime companion, erstwhile collaborator and cust­odian of the vaults which contain the footage that collectively represents several decades of creative activity not fully realised.

Although legal and commercial disputes have blocked the public screening ol much of his work, which was often left in an admittedly incomplete and/or unedited state, the rare chance to catch glimpses of these unfinished projects is a must-see for film buffs. Major highlights include scenes from Herman Melville's Moby Dick. shot in 1971, in which Welles, plays various characters, the film version of The Merchant of Venice ( 1970) with Welles as Shylock. some disconnected fragments from the thriller The Deep (c 1966), which would reach the screen over 20 years later as Dead Calm, the bizarrely amusing trailer For F Sake (1974); Swinging London (1969). a mini-comedy in which he plays different characters ranging from Chinese strip club owner to Cockney labourer, and the legend­ary The Other Side of the Wind (1970-76) containing dazzling sequences including a silent but erotically charged sex scene in which a woman seduces a fellow passenger in a car while the rain pelts down accompanied by the hypnotic sound of water falling across the windscreen wipers.

Kodar gives an admittedly biased view of the filmmakers' final 20 years in which he constantly worked on different projects and attempted to raise financing by making commercials, acting in numerous star vehicles and doing voice-overs. This became known as the Welles system' expressed thus. "I use my own work to subsidise my work, in other words. I am crazy" (PHa)

See also...

TALES FROM ARAB DETROIT

... ... Joan Mandell's documentary was filmed during a visit by an Egyptian poet/story-teller to Arab-American community centre in Michigan. Sheikh Ghanim Mansour is one of the last people alive able ... More »

ANIMAL LOVE

... ... Lonely lives consumed by an almost unnatural passion for pets! Child substitute, surrogate lover, plaything, pawn in relationship power struggles, the whole notion of innocent puppy love gets ... More »

SHINJUKU BOYS

Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams are back Ivexplonng another gender-bending facet of the flipside to Japanese society—following on from their successful documentary on the Takarazuka Review ... More »

ROD SERLING: SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL

Submitted for your approval: the man in cardiac crisis is Mr Rod Serling—writer, producer and agent provocateur of a certain electronic medium he helped to create and which, by way of thanks ... More »

FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG

The director of the provocative Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992), Mark Rappaport, takes n equally idiosyncratic and unconventional approach to a biographical documentary charting the career of the ... More »

HALVING THE BONES

... ... At the turn of the century a Japanese girl was encouraged by her father to fulfil Japan's destiny of spreading around the world. She accepted an arranged marriage with a pioneer photographer ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director