F For Fake

Style

According to some reviews, the F for Fake mash-up has possibly paved the way for the modern "attention-deficit" style of editing.[7] More likely, Welles was influenced by those that came before, such as the French New Wave and Dadaist filmmakers such as Jean Luc Godard and René Clair who used editing to alternately build and deconstruct. What is unique to the film is the concept of the "unreliable narrator." A key subject of the film itself, which at many points shows Welles sitting at an editing controller, as he narrates and draws self-reflexive attention to the problems with veracity in life and filmmaking.[6] Several filmmakers contributed to the forgery that is "F for Fake" including B-movie cinematographer Gary Graver (who contributes all footage filmed in the U.S., as well as some very choppy editing, and his own voice/image as the dubious on-screen "newscaster") as well as Welles' girlfriend and muse, Oja Kodar (who first appears in a series of butt shots as she is ogled both by Welles' camera and by stock footage of males who "see" her). It is in fact a trick of editing and/or creative geography and Welles' first lie in the film, or is it? Who directed these shots? Kodar claims she did. It is unclear where Welles' participation stops and his lesser-known collaborators begins, as the film employs multiple editors, multiple directors, multiple cross cuttings of unrelated footage and the often erratic use of creative geography as well as multiple voice overs. An example of this appears with a series of near wordless shots of Irving and de Hory seemingly in debate as to whether de Hory ever signed his forgeries (the shots of Irving and de Hory were in fact taken at different times).[7]

Welles's autobiographical asides in the film reflect on his 1938 radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, which caused a nationwide panic with its fake news broadcast. In introducing this chapter of his life, Welles declares his uncertainty as to his own authenticity, as he believes he too has engaged in fraud. Interestingly, while the basic facts of the War of the Worlds incident are correctly given, the apparent excerpts from the play featured in the movie are complete fabrications, including a scene in which President Roosevelt meets the Martian invaders—something which did not happen in the original (fabricated) broadcast.


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