|Title:||The Other Side of the Wind|
|Genre:||Movie About Movies|
|12.20.18||Netflix|| To me, one of the major coups Netflix pulled this year is releasing this unfinished final Orson Welles film. Going into this, I felt like it should've maybe been left unfinished and stand only as a Jodorowsky's Dune type doc (which they also released and I'm looking forward to seeing sometime this week). But maybe the movie has some further glimpses of Welles' genius which would be worth experiencing.|
Unfortunately, I found this incomprehensible.
At first I thought it was because I was tired so I saved the second half for when I was more awake. Nope. It's a complete mess. I think, if anything, it is worthy as a fitting end to Welles' career: one that started at the top and spent its duration fraying and dismantling itself; overcome by the burden of genius. I mean I could write all the same stuff I wrote about Mr. Arkadin a few months ago, but at least that film had a beginning, middle, and end. This one is just an editor's nightmare of random footage. Out of a hundred hours of footage, there must not have been a single master shot.
Yet every frame is visually interesting. Many of the techniques on display here (different film stocks, overlapping dialogue, an unbelievable meta-narrative about Bogdanovich, Huston, and Welles) would've been ahead of their time had this movie come out in 1975 (or even 85), but I honestly wouldn't know what the movie was about were it not for the blurb on Netflix's pause screen or the imdb summary. And, the constant (i mean CONSTANT) cutting is super exhausting after about five minutes.
But with such similarities between this and Mr. Arkadin and F for Fake and even The Trial, I feel like this is just how Welles' brain works. It's the level he thinks on. My guess is that, to him, this is cinema in its purest form. And it's true that there is just so. much. shit. going on here you could concievably pause it every few minutes and watch again until you absorb everything, but with this movie I think it would be a mostly academic exercise. There's so little story here that I can't be bothered to care about the shifting viewpoints and crazy mise en scene and gorgeous lighting on all the old guys' wrinkly faces.
So... at least I got through it. Now I'm free to get onto the good stuff: the docs about the making of this thing.