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Séance Screenings


September 16 (Saturday) 7 pm
September 19 (Tuesday) 9 pm

F for Fake (Vérités et Mensonges)

Directed by Orson Welles
France/Iran/West Germany 1973, 35mm, color, 85 min.
With Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Elmyr de Hory

This playful homage to forgery and illusionism is the last film Orson Welles released before his death. Both a self-portrait and a wry refutation of the auteur principle, its labyrinthine play of paradoxes and ironies creates the cinematic equivalent of an Escher drawing. Described as "a vertigo of lies," the film itself becomes a kind of fake, for although it bears the signature of its author it was in fact the product of many hands. Starting with some found footage of art forger Elmyr de Hory shot by French documentarist François Reichenbach, Welles transforms the material into an interrogation of the nature of truth and illusion, with stops to revisit his own Citizen Kane and "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, detours with Howard Hughes and his hoax biographer Clifford Irving, and a profile of Picasso deceived by love. Long unavailable in North America, F for Fake is presented here in a newly restored print, courtesy of the Munich Filmmuseum.

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October 25 (Wednesday) 9:45 pm
HFA Archival Print

Pursed

Directed by Raoul Walsh
US 1947, 35mm, b/w, 101 min.
With Robert Mitchum, Judith Anderson, Teresa Wright

In this rare western film noir, Robert Mitchum—in a role originally meant for John Garfield—gave one of his finest early performances as a man haunted by a past he can neither escape nor comprehend. Veteran genre director Walsh proves that the noir sensibility of the late forties spread way beyond the bounds of the urban crime thriller. Written by screenwriter Niven Busch (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Duel in the Sun) and masterfully photographed by James Wong Howe, Pursued has been described by critic Peter Lloyd as "a horror story of the great outdoors, an extraordinary tale of family rivalry, atavism, and grotesque vengeance." Walsh inaugurated a new subgenre with this film: the psychological western. Here, Mitchum is pursued through near-epic landscapes of the mind by the indistinct demons of childhood trauma.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700