In the final fifteen years of the life of legendary director Orson Welles he pins his Hollywood comeback hopes on a film, The Other Side of the Wind, in itself a film about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie.
This documentary chronicles the life of Polish-American artist Stanislav Szukalski (1893-1987) from his early years in Chicago, to his time in Poland and Los Angeles, and his artistic and political contributions to the world.
Essay film shot for TV including Orson Welles reflections on Othello close to the Moviola, a chat with Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir and fragments of a conversation with the audience in Boston after a screening of the film.
Orson Welles's final movie, The Other Side of the Wind, started filming in 1970 but by the time of his death in 1985 had not been released. It was finally released by Netflix in 2018. This documentary details the making of the movie and the problems Welles had in completing and releasing it.Written by
The filmmakers explicitly state at the end of this documentary that the greatest contribution of 'Other Side of the Wind' may be that Orson Welles created the modern documentary film. While we can debate whether that was his intent with OSOTW, the fact is that documentaries have been around since before the 1920s. Documentaries were always very popular way before Orson commenced work on OSOTW. No attempt is made to illustrate why OSOTW may have changed the way we view documentaries from before that time (assuming they meant to say Welles changed the style of documentaries, as opposed to claiming he created documentaries in general, which may be a generous interpretation). See more »
Clearly another reviewer and I disagree in our assessment of this film. I did find "The Other Side of the Wind" worthwhile, but I have mixed feelings about this skewed portrayal of this masterful filmmaker. Having said that, some of the old film clips were well-chosen.
On a logistical level, this film is not what one would expect... most all of the friends and colleagues become talking heads who are not individually identified, until the rolling credits, where a slew of names are lined up. That said, Peter B is easily recognized, and a few others' identities are inferred by their comments. When Oja speaks, you are left to imagine what she looks like nowadays... I presume that she insisted that her sound bites would not include visuals.
What disappointed me the most were the cynical snipes made about the approach and demeanor of Welles, from several people closely associated with him. Some of their barbed comments served to discount the great complexity of this man. I wonder if these folks had enough nerve to frankly state their views in front of his face while he was alive? One celebrity commented on his demanding preference for a particular snack food. On the surface, the remark said more about her.
It strikes me as ironic that one clip shows Welles speaking on the essential value of editing, yet this film has chosen to slice things up into brief sound bites. As a result, the tone of the interviewees resemble a bitter pill, as if to say: while we might recognize the genius of this man, the viewer would do well to witness his significant deficiencies.
There are cherry-picked clips which try to convince the viewer about Welles impulse to control the details. Newsflash: many great artists fall prey to obsessiveness. We see Welles give a specific note to Norman Foster on his delivery. Foster transformed the line in-a-flash, and it was vastly improved. If this film intended to cast a shadow on the esteemed artful nuances which Welles strove for, then it failed.
Each viewer will have a different take on this film. As for me, the approach and tone of this film left me feeling defensive, and a bit sad.
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