Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Filming Othello

(1978, WGer, 84m)
d/sc/ed Orson Welles p Juergen Hellwig, Klaus Hellwig ph Gary Graver m Alberto Barberis, Angelo Francesco Lavagnino with Orson Welles, Hilton Edwards, Michael MacLiammóir

Presented as an informal living room chat about the convoluted production of the ’48-’52 movie, Welles’s final completed film continues his dependence on the essay form and the primacy of editing. It’s less tricksy than F For Fake (though outrageous in its splicing of a lovey luncheon with Edwards and MacLiammóir with Welles’s questions, clearly shot quite separately). A disjointed series of notes, it takes in production history, musings on theme, character and imagery, critical commentary, and some plummy recitations; looming over a moviola, Welles is as congenial a host as ever, though at his most sparky with a real audience, in brief post-screening footage. More of a footnote than a coda, the film represents the conjurer’s (or out-of work film-maker’s) trick of pulling something out of nothing, touching in Welles’s enthusiasm, and poignant in its smallness of scale.

© Time Out Film Guide

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