Orson Welles Film Festival
Two masterpieces from one of the greatest film maker of our times
20th July 2008 ; 10 am to 6 pm
Call : 94430 39630
Hollywood Rebel & Founding Member of The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers
Though little appreciated in his time, Orson Welles is today one of classic Hollywood's most acclaimed cinematic visionaries Always an outsider to the studio system which dominated filmmaking at the time however, Welles never condescended to play by Hollywood's rules and his arduous four-decade career was pocked with moments of brilliance, excess and waste.
George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. Welles first gained wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a number of listeners to panic. In the mid-1930s, his
In 1941, he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, often chosen in polls of film critics as the greatest film ever made. And in 1941, at 26, he achieved his greatest ambition through formation of his own Mercury Productions, Inc. The rest of his career was often obstructed by lack of funds, incompetent studio interference and other unfortunate occurrences, both during exile in Europe and brief returns to
Although Welles remained on the margins of the major studios as a director/producer, his larger-than-life personality made him a bankable actor. In his later years he struggled against a
Source : www.cobbles.com / Wikipedia
Citizen Kane (1941)
Run time : 119 minutes
"It is the epitome of filmmaking, a masterpiece for which Welles, one of the greatest practitioners of the cinematic art, will be forever remembered."
The fresh, sophisticated, and classic masterpiece, Citizen Kane (1941), is probably the world's most famous and highly-rated film, with its many remarkable scenes and performances, cinematic and narrative techniques and experimental innovations (in photography, editing, and sound). Its director, star, and producer were all the same genius individual - Orson Welles (in his film debut at age 25!), who collaborated with Herman J. Mankiewicz on the script (and also with an uncredited John Houseman), and with Gregg Toland as his talented cinematographer Toland's camera work on Karl Freund's expressionistic horror film Mad Love (1935) exerted a profound influence on this film.
More importantly, the innovative, bold film is an acknowledged milestone in the development of cinematic technique. It uses film as an art form to energetically communicate and display a non-static view of life.
Its complex and pessimistic theme of a spiritually-failed man is told from several, unreliable perspectives and points-of-view (also metaphorically communicated by the jigsaw puzzle) by several different characters (the associates and friends of the deceased) - providing a sometimes contradictory, non-sequential, and enigmatic portrait. The film tells the thought-provoking, tragic epic story of a 'rags-to-riches' child who inherited a fortune, was taken away from his humble surroundings and his father and mother, was raised by a banker, and became a fabulously wealthy, arrogant, and energetic newspaperman. He made his reputation as the generous, idealistic champion of the underprivileged, and set his egotistical mind on a political career, until those political dreams were shattered after the revelation of an ill-advised 'love-nest' affair with a singer. Kane's life was corrupted and ultimately self-destructed by a lust to fulfill the American dream of success, fame, wealth, power and immortality. After two failed marriages and a transformation into a morose, grotesque, and tyrannical monster, his final days were spent alone, morose, and unhappy before his death in a reclusive refuge of his own making - an ominous castle filled with innumerable possessions to compensate for his life's emptiness.
The discovery and revelation of the mystery of the life of the multi-millionaire publishing tycoon is determined through a reporter's search for the meaning of his single, cryptic dying word: "Rosebud" - in part, the film's plot enabling device - or McGuffin (MacGuffin). However, no-one was present to hear him utter the elusive last word. The reporter looks for clues to the word's identity by researching the newspaper publisher's life, through interviews with several of Kane's former friends and colleagues. Was it a favorite pet or nickname of a lost love? Or the name of a racehorse? At film's end, the identity of "Rosebud" is revealed, but only to the film audience.
Touch of Evil (1958)
Run time : 95 min
Touch of Evil (1958) is a great American film noir crime thriller, dark mystery, and cult classic - another technical masterpiece from writer-director-actor Orson Welles. It was Orson Welles' fifth
The best approach for anyone seeing the film for the first time: to set aside the labyrinthine plot, and simply admire what is on the screen. The movie begins with one of the most famous shots ever made, following a car with a bomb in its trunk for three minutes and 20 seconds. And it has other virtuoso camera movements, including an unbroken interrogation in a cramped room, and one that begins in the street and follows the characters through a lobby and into an elevator. The British critic Damian Cannon writes of its ``spatial choreography,'' in which ``every position and movement latches together into a cogent whole.''
Welles and his cinematographer, Russell Metty, were not simply showing off. The destinies of all of the main characters are tangled from beginning to end, and the photography makes that point by trapping them in the same shots, or tying them together through cuts that match and resonate. The story moves not in a straight line, but as a series of loops and coils.
The story takes place in Los Robles, a seedy Mexican-American border town (``border towns bring out the worst in a country''). It's a place of bars, strip clubs and brothels, where music spills onto the street from every club. In the opening shot, we see a bomb placed in the trunk of a car, and then the camera cranes up and follows the car down a strip of seamy storefronts, before gliding down to eye level to pick up a strolling couple. They are newlyweds, Mike and Susan Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh); he's a Mexican drug enforcement official.
At a border checkpoint, they're eventually joined by the doomed car, which has been delayed by traffic and a herd of goats. Mike and Susan are completing the check when there's an offscreen explosion--and then finally a cut, to the burning car lifting in the air. Everyone awaits the arrival of Sheriff Hank Quinlan (Welles), a massive, sweaty, rumbling figure who looms over the camera. (Welles was not that big when he made the picture, and used padding and camera angles to exaggerate his bulk.) Quinlan takes charge, ``intuiting'' that the explosion was caused by dynamite. Vargas, a bystander, finds himself drawn into the investigation, to Quinlan's intense displeasure; the movie becomes a competition between the two men, leading to the sheriff's efforts to frame Vargas and his bride on drug and murder charges.
It was regarded as a rebellious, unorthodox, bizarre, and outrageously exaggerated film, affronting respectable 1950's sensibilities, with controversial themes including racism, betrayal of friends, sexual ambiguity, frameups, drugs, and police corruption of power.
Thanks to http://rogerebert.suntimes.com / www.filmsite.org