16 June 2019 | Ziglet_mir
The Long-Awaited Film has Arrived
The Other Side of the Wind is not a perfect film, but perhaps the perfect film to punctuate Orson Welles' incredible and monolithic career, and certainly the most appropriate film to leave unfinished due to difficulty in production. Or perhaps it is the genius of Welles to have left the film unfinished on purpose?
The film focuses on "the man, the myth, the legend" type J.J. Hannaford, who is making his comeback film after a long hiatus of being out of touch with the modern movie realm. He celebrates his birthday by having a documentary team, friends, associates, and others join him for a showing of his new film "The Other Side of the Wind" starring his striking new lead actor Johnny Dale and lead actress (who is nameless according to the bill). What ensues is a chaotic, fast-paced bombardment of quick edits, snappy dialog, a movin' sound track, and fantastic camera-work sandwiched between the hypnotic, near-legato, orchestral moments of Hannaford's film "The Other Side of the Wind".
It took me about 25 min to get used to the faced-paced, almost bravado tone of the editing because I wanted more time to saturate the emotions and facial expressions of the characters. This is why I think the sections that show Hannaford's film stick out even more though; finally having time to "breath" (if you will) versus the zaniness of being in the business (reality). It even feels at times that Hannaford himself is drowning and just wants to breath. Even still, does Welles conduct an amazing performance from the grizzled-veteran John Huston, who nails the semi-pretentious over-indulgent Hannaford to a tee.
The highlights of Welles' last picture surely come from the technical aspects of the production, the anticipation born from it's long-troubled existence of coming to fruition, and the lead performance from Huston. I must say there are a handful of poignant, enigmatic scenes that truly hypnotize such as "The Other Side of the Wind"s rather incredible car scene, which for me was the true top moment of this feature. The camerawork changing from black and white to deep color is used to great effect as well.
I suppose we will never know if what we have today is truly Welles' vision fully intact, or just a shadow of what is was supposed to be. The Other Side of the Wind is definitely for any fans of Orson Welles and for those who enjoy seeing filmmaking done years ahead of its time. I feel like I must say that this film isn't getting praise from me simply because Welles' name is slapped on it, but good because there are a bunch of things to appreciate.