In February of 1982, Orson Welles was sixty-six years old and hadn’t completed a dramatic feature since the docu-fiction “F for Fake,” from 1973. He was in France, to be decorated as a commander of the Légion d’Honneur, and while there he paid a visit to the Cinémathèque Française, for a Q. & A. with film students. The event was filmed by Pierre-André Boutang and Guy Seligmann; the film is streaming, for free, on the Cinémathèque’s treasure trove of a Web site, and it’s both a moving portrait of the caged cinematic lion (who died in 1985, without making another feature) and an enduringly insightful set of lessons on the art and the practice of making movies.
Welles declares his desire for the session to be a dialogue; the students (who form a standing-room crowd) prove reticent, however, and he makes strenuously good-humored efforts to get them to engage—and then delivers generous, copious, blazingly uninhibited answers to their brief questions. The discussion is moderated by Henri Béhar, who also serves as the onstage translator. The time that it takes Béhar to repeat Welles’s remarks in French (and, at times, to put the students’ questions into English) lends the discussion a natural rhythm, within which Welles composes his thoughts with rhetorical flair and invests them with dramatic weight and comedic timing. Welles, who was one of the greatest and grandest of actors and also of directors, turns the event into a performance—without sacrificing a whit of candor. He brings a mighty, Shakespearean pathos and comedy to the casually structured occasion.
Polling the students about their intended careers in film, he’s dismayed to learn that almost all of them want to be directors. He fears for them, he says, adding, “You are people who have fallen under the spell of the most wicked of all the muses . . . because it’s too expensive.” He mentions trouble getting distribution; he mentions having had his movies recut against his will; he mentions being cheated out of money by “creative bookkeeping”; but, above all, he simply laments the difficulty of getting funding to make films. When asked about the greatest moment he experienced as a filmmaker, he says, “The greatest moment is always when you know the money is in the bank. . . . It’s exactly the way you would feel if you were a painter and you had to wait for some fairy to come in the night and give you some paint. Every morning, you wake up and the box is empty. Now, naturally, when you see all those colors in front of you, it’s going to be a big moment in your life.” (He speaks enviously of painters and their relatively inexpensive supplies, and he also describes his other life, as a celebrity entertainer on U.S. television—if the French had known about this, he jokes, he wouldn’t have been decorated.)
Yet his dismay at the near-universal desire of these students to direct also arises from his declared view that the role of the director is overvalued. He thinks that screenwriters are even more overvalued, for two reasons—first, because movies have no need for scripts (“You can make a wonderful film about nothing—look at Fellini”), and, second, because the screenwriter works alone, like a novelist, whereas “everything about the work of the director consists of working with many people and extracting from all of them the maximum human richesse.” The people from whom a director must extract richness above all are actors, whom Welles considers the most important element of a movie. “They are the people who have made the cinema unforgettable,” Welles says, and a director’s job is “to discover in the actor something more than he knew he had.” At the same time, Welles is careful to distinguish actors from stars: “The real star is an animal absolutely separate from actors. He may be, or she may be, the greatest actor in the world, but he is not like actors. The vocation of being a star is separate from the vocation of being an actor. It is very close to wanting to be President of the United States.”
Good directors, Welles says, are those who see who (actors) and what (locations and décor) are in front of them and are “intelligent enough to shoot it.” He says that “the job of the director is to choose what he sees and, to an extent, to create, but a great deal of what is applauded as creation is simply there.” He contrasts the “intelligent” director from the “intellectual” (“the enemy of all the performing arts”); he worries that film students watch too many movies and that film professors show them too many movies. He thinks that inspiration comes from seeing things for oneself, not as other directors see them, and he hates, above all, the “homage,” the reference in movies to other movies.
Yet Welles does not demean the art of the director—or his own art. (He jokingly refers to himself as a “petit maître of an art form which has not yet entirely proven itself to be an art form,” but adds that he considers “all the other directors petits maîtres—and most of them très petits maîtres.”) What he does demean most is the notion of a willed style; he explains his own widely varied sense of style in purely heuristic, spontaneous terms. When asked about the use of deep-focus camera work in “Citizen Kane,” he says that he likes deep focus—and also its complete antithesis. He chose that style once because that’s how he thought his eye saw, he says, and he stopped using it when he found that his eye saw differently. He anticipates filming, a year from then, his version of “King Lear” in a telephoto-based style of extreme shallow focus.
Throughout the talk, Welles looks eagerly to the future, mentioning films that he’s planning to make. Asked about his legacy, he instead looks ahead: “I feel young and happy and ready to make movies.” In addition to “King Lear,” he intended to complete his films “Don Quixote” and “The Other Side of the Wind.” (He didn’t; both were completed by others after his death.) He also planned to make a movie adapted from a novel by Isak Dinesen and a story that he wrote about “American politicians.” (Asked whether it might be about Reagan, Welles jibed, “There’s not enough there for a feature movie.”) Welles speaks enthusiastically about video and is looking forward to using it “to start an entirely new form.” He says, “I like the look of video very much . . . and I love the control that I have over color and many other things.” (He also speaks of the inevitably solitary experience, the “single”-ness, of moviegoers, as if anticipating the hunched-over private viewings of the streaming life.)
Welles displays his fervent intention of making movies, and, throughout, displays, too, ferocious insights of scathing intensity. (Only a few forced belly laughs suggest a shadow of despair.) But his energies went untapped; when he died, in 1985, he left many films incomplete. The result was a grandly ironic paradox: Welles may have rejected the idea of posterity, but his own fragmented and loose-ended œuvre became an industry unto itself, with movies of his completed and released posthumously. After his death, his work required more than critical attention—it demanded hands-on acolytes ready to put years of labor into shoring up its fragments. It’s a story that he told—perhaps foretold—in “The Other Side of the Wind,” about a filmmaker who both leaves work unfinished and creates a mighty myth, in death, that exceeded his professional standing in his last days. The film industry failed Welles with its contemptuous indifference to his ambitions—with its ingratitude for the artistic vistas that he’d opened for it. Perhaps leading lights of New Hollywood recognized that, running freely among them and competing with them on even ground, he’d have left them far behind and turned their own work instantly obsolete. Instead, he was turned into the subject of many an homage.
Radhika Apte reveals real reason why she got married
Radhika Apte needs no introduction to Kollywood fans after her appearance as Superstar Rajinikanth’s wife in ‘Kabali’ directed by Pa Ranjith. The intense actress impressed with her performance of a meek girl to a mother of a grown-up and especially her reunion scene with Rajini took the audience on an emotional ride.
Radhika is happily married to her British boyfriend Benedict Taylor who is a singer and she shuttles between Mumbai and London to balance her personal and professional life.
Radhika Apte in her most recent interaction with Vikranth Massey on social media from London has admitted that she does not believe in the institution of marriage. When asked why she got married the talented performer replied that it is easier for married people to get a British visa and that’s why she and her man opted for it in 2012.
Radhika is currently chilling with Taylor in their London home during the lockdown and will soon start filming her next English film ‘Noor Inayat Khan’ in which she plays a spy based on a true story.
Jacqueline Fernandez shares picture of her being in ‘happy place’
Actor Jacqueline Fernandez is working on a secret project where she found herself in a ‘happy place’. Taking it to Instagram on Sunday, the 35-year-old actor shared a picture dressed up like a traffic police officer as she is seen laughing her heart out.
“How was everyone’s Sunday?? Fun project coming up soon! #myhappyplace,” wrote Fernandez along with a picture where she is also seen holding a coffee mug. The ‘Kick’ actor also shared a few Instagram stories of her getting ready for the upcoming project.
Recently, the actor extended gratitude to her fans after the number of Instagram followers hit the 46 million mark.
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