Here are five clips from the latest episode of my radio show, THE ART MOVEMENT, the weekly radio show hosted/produced by arts presenter Matt Micucci. The show revolves around art and culture, and where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed.
(To listen to/download the full radio show, scroll to the bottom of the page.)
What is The Art Movement?
My thoughts on the negative feedback on this year’s Venice International Film Festival program.
Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper were unruly geniuses.
What is art nouveau?
Who is Alfons Mucha?
Lots more where that came from! You can listen to the full epsiode of THE ART MOVEMENT (including the music) via the player below.
I have to mention one of the films of the 2020 program of the festival that immediately stood out. It’s a film called Hopper/Welles. It’s having its premiere in Venice. And I looked into it a little bit. Apparently, it’s just a 129-minute long conversation between Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper. Officially, it’s down as being directed by Welles.
That would make Hopper/Welles yet another recently discovered, posthumously released film by Orson Welles, following The Other Side of the Wind, the lost and unfinished Orson Welles film that saw the light of day in 2018. And it actually premiered in Venice that year too, and I was there to see it. I went to a late night press screening of it and interviewed the editor who basically put the final piece together.
The Other Side of the Wind starred John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich, obviously two great directors in their own right. And very few people thought that film would ever see the light of day. But when I went to that late night screening, first of all, the room was packed. Which is rare for a late night screening.
But also, something happened I had never seen and I don’t think I have ever seen again. As soon as Orson Welles’ name popped up during the opening credits, people just applauded enthusiastically and some people jumped up on their feet.
Like, this guy. We all love him, man. And that just goes to show how exciting we all were and we even forgave the film for being kinda meh in the end. It was still very cool to be one of the first people in the world to have seen it. Although I did ask myself whether Welles himself would have been happy that the film that he refused to complete had actually been screened.
But I’m just thinking about Hopper/Welles. Obviously, I’m really looking forward to seeing the movie whether I go to Venice this year or not. I’m still not sure and I’m not really sure I would want to go. I’ll only go if the money is right. Otherwise, I’ll sit this one out and focus on myself. I’d go if I got to be a member of the jury. But anyways.
Like, when I think of Welles and Hopper, I see so many similarities between them. Both were obviously revolutionary figures in American film history. Both were also prone to excesses. Welles died an enormously obese man and an alcoholic. Hopper struggled with sever drug problems and alcohol addiction for most of his life.
But men’s directorial debuts were groundbreaking. Citizen Kane by Orson Welles from 1941 still, to this day, routinely tops Best Movie Ever lists and rightly so, in my opinion. And Hopper’s first movie, Easy Rider, which he co-directed with Peter Fonda in 1969. That film essentially kickstarted the most exciting film movement in American film, known as New Hollywood.
In fact, Hopper almost put an end to this entire movement with that disastrous production of The Last Movie, released in 1971. Actually, the film itself is great in my opinion. And it was more the production itself, just how amazingly chaotic it was. I mean, you want to read about it. It almost ended Hopper’s career outright. His relationship with the studios kind of never recovered. And really, who knew more about troubles with the American studio system than Orson Welles.
I mean, they were also both renaissance men and so it’s going to be interesting for sure to see what these two guys would have talked about on that specific date. I do hope the film will present the conversation uncut. I am not interested in contemporary critics or contributors popping up on the screen every now and then to tell us all how great they were. Dennis Hopper and Orson Welles are two guys that you see and you know, even just by their sheer unparalleled charisma, how great they were.
Welcome to THE ART MOVEMENT, a radio show about the arts and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed. The show is hosted by globe-trotting art presenter Matt Micucci, featuring plenty of music, interview clips and thoughts on current events.
Listen to episode 20 via one of the players below.
In this episode:
Alfons Mucha and art nouveau;
Venice International Film Festival 2020 program announced;
Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper: unruly geniuses;
Thelonious Monk lost album release indefinitely called off.
Vérités et mensonges Directed by: Orson Welles France, Iran, West Germany
Orson Welles is one of cinema’s most charismatic figures and it is a well-known fact that throughout his life, he nurtured a fascination with illusionism and knew a couple of magic tricks himself. F for Fake, Welles’ last feature film and his one and only foray in the docudrama form, questions the illusionist essence of cinema, questioning its realism and the impact on the artform of imagination, as well as imagination’s affinity with lies. But it also shows Welles’ delight at, coming towards the end of its life, exposing some of its behind-the-scenes machinations.
F for Fake partly draws inspiration from his own career, including the widely known episode of the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds that made him a household name. It also talks about forgery in a broader sense, recounting Elmyr de Hory’s career as a professional art forger, which serves as the backdrop for an investigation on the natures of authorship and authenticity.
The film is also defined by remarkable energy and excitement. It’s clear that even at this stage of his career, Welles had a desire to break new grounds and on F for Fake, he experiments a lot with creative editing techniques – something that film theorist André Bazin, who had praised him many years before for the realism of his Citizen Kane, probably would never think to have seen.