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F for Fake(Vérités et Mensonges)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Iran, West Germany

1973

Rated PG • 1h 29m

Director Orson Welles

Starring Orson Welles, Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Oja Kodar

Genre Documentary

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Orson Welles' final film documents the lives of infamous fakers Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving. De Hory, who later committed suicide to avoid more prison time, made his name by selling forged works of art by painters like Picasso and Matisse. Irving was infamous for writing a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. Welles moves between documentary and fiction as he examines the fundamental elements of fraud and the people who commit fraud at the expense of others.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Total Film by Kevin Harley

The greatest trick he pulls is making you think he’s not genuine: beneath befuddling, bracing digressions on Picasso, Howard Hughes, biography, confidence tricks, growing beards and “girl-watching” lies a searching interrogation of ideas of authorship.
100

The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

A loving tribute to chicanery, deception, misdirection, scoundrels, sleight of hand, con artistry, dishonesty, and flimflammery in all its myriad guises. It is, in other words, a valentine to filmmaking in general, and its larger-than-life creator in particular.
80

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

F for Fake is a minor work in some ways, but there is fascination and poignancy in seeing Welles's elegant retreat into this hall of mirrors.
75

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

F For Fake is minor Welles, the master idly tuning his instrument while the concert seems never to start again. But it's engaging and fun, and it's astonishing how easily Welles spins a movie out of next to nothing.

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