Orson Welles’ long delayed Swan Song
cacb3995 - wrote on 11/05/18
In 1985 cinema legend Orson Welles passed away, leaving behind a huge body of work that earned him the label of one of the best film directors to have ever graced the art form. He also left behind more than one unfinished project, including a sort of experimental faux documentary about filmmaking titled “The Other Side of the Wind”. Welles had returned to Hollywood in 1970 after a decade of living in Europe. He had the perfect story: the last day in the life of an acclaimed film director as he tries to comlete one last film. The film’s troubled production had to deal with many financial and legal setbacks, had to be suspended and resumed several times, and at the time of Welles death hundreds of hours had been shot over the course of many years, of which only a small portion had been edited. Since then many attempts had been made to finish the project and now, finally after so many years full of shortcomings and legal disputes, Orson Welles’ final masterpiece has been released to the public.
Jake Hannaford (John Huston) was considered to be the “Ernest Hermingway of cinema”. He died on a car accident the day after his birthday, a day in which he showed an unfinished version of his latest film, “The Other Side of the Wind”, at the party. The film tells the story of this day, in particular of the events of the party. Shot in a sort of documentary style, through the lenses of several interviewers and party attendees, we get an insight into the Hannaford’s life and the people around him, including his protegé directors, actors, film critics, students, etc. We also get to see sequences of the eponymous film, which follows a young man (played in the film within the film by an actor named John Dale (in turn played by Bob Random), with whom Hannaford has had a rocky relationshi with and who walked out of the project in the middle of production) as he obsseses over a mysterious and sensous woman (Oja Kodar). The film has little narrative coherence, no dialogue at all and lots of nudity.