F for Fake

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F for Fake is a 1974 film, released in 1975 in the United States. The film focuses on the life of Elmyr de Hory's recounting of his career as a professional art forger and forgery in general. It is notable for being Orson Welles final film, which today is renowned as being the procurer of modern editing.

Directed by Orson Welles. Written by Orson Welles and Oja Kodar.

Orson Welles[edit]

  • Ladies and gentleman, by way of introduction, this is a film about trickery and fraud, about lies. Tell it by the fireside or in a marketplace or in a movie, almost any story is almost certainly some kind of lie. But not this time. No, this is a promise. During the next hour, everything you'll hear from us is really true and based on solid facts.
  • Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash - the triumphs, and the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life: we're going to die. "Be of good heart," cry the dead artists out of the living past. "Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing." Maybe a man's name doesn't matter all that much.
  • I started at the top and have been working my way down ever since.
  • Paris was suffering from August. This happens every year. It shuts down, closes up, and this is the time when an invader could take the country by telephone... if he could get somebody to answer it.
  • For my next experiment ladies and gentleman, I would appreciate the loan of any small personal object form your pocket. A key, box of matches, a coin - ah, key it is, good sir. Hold it up 10 feet over your head and watch out for the slightest hint of hanky panky... and behold before our very eyes a transformation! We've changed your key into... a coin. What happened to the key? It's been returned to you. Look closely, sir, you'll find the key back in your pocket. May we see it please? What's that, sir? Did I used to be a magician, sir? I'm still working on it. As for the key, it was not symbolic of anything... this isn't that kind of movie. You'll find the coin in your pocket now, sir. Keep your eyes on that coin sir, while it's returned to you... as your key. Should we return you to your mother? Is this your mother? No, of course not. Open your mouth wide... and we'll return you your money. And by the way, have you ever heard of Robert Houdin, speaking of magicians, I mean. Oh no, of course not. But of course, you do know my partner François Reichenbach. Houdin was the greatest magician who ever lived. And do you know what he said? "A magician, he said, is just an actor - just an actor playing the part of a magician."
  • What we professional liars hope to serve is truth. I'm afraid the pompous word for that is "art".
  • [quoting a phenomenal art forger] Do you think I should confess? To what? Committing masterpieces?
  • At the very beginning, I - of all this, I did make you a promise. Remember? I did promise that for one hour, I'd tell you only the truth. That hour, ladies and gentlemen, is over. For the past 17 minutes, I've been lying my head off. The truth, and please forgive us for it, is that we've been forging an art story...
  • Art, [Picasso] said, is a lie — a lie that makes us realize the truth. To the memory of that great man who will never cease to exist, I offer my apologies and wish you all, true and false, a very pleasant good evening


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