Chaotic, visually stunning, and a worthy tribute to a legendary director. Orson Welles’ long-lost film is a must-see for any cineastes out there.
Behold, almost 50 years in the making, The Other Side of the Wind finally can be seen in its entirety. It’s a film that left me gobsmacked by the end, wishing there could have been more to offer. Sadly, this is the closest we will ever get to the vision of Legendary director Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, and F for Fake). This was an on-and-off again development that sadly did not see completion during Welles’ final breath. Shooting began in 1970 and went through until 1976. Welles continued to work on the project during the 1980s but fell into legal, financial, and political complications. Ultimately, The Other Side of the Wind was stopped, sitting in limbo, and haunting Hollywood ever since. The film starred John Huston, Bob Random, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, and Oja Kodar.
Huston’s character resembled Welles himself, as a man coming back from isolation and returning to America after two decades to make one last movie. The narrative is utilized as a film-within-a-film and is mashed up with mockumentary pizzazz. Splicing between color and black-and-white footage and a rapid cutting approach, you’re in for a wild ride. This long-lost chapter into Welles’ canon is something cinephiles can drool over. This Hollywood satire focuses on the last days of a legendary film director named Jake Hannaford (played by John Huston), who is struggling to make a comeback in filmmaking. Notably, Hannaford is hard at work on his final masterpiece, The Other Side of The Wind. It paralleled with Welles’ own personal life, while we (the audience) are struck with awe. Messy throughout, we see an artist working overtime to complete his crowning portrait. Blended with graphic nudity and rapid-fire dialog, The Other Side of the Wind’s thorny beauty is a feast for your eyes.
The world premiered was unveiled at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018, and was released on November 2, 2018, by Netflix. If anything, this masterwork proves that Welles was ahead of his time, as great artist usually are. Editor Bob Murawski (The Hurt Locker) used Welles’ own personal notes to chop and piece together the closing product. While composer Michel Legrand (The Thomas Crown Affair) layered in his upbeat and jazzy score. Legrand stated: "I asked myself constantly, ‘How would Orson have reacted?’ The very subject of the film touched me: the idea of the passage of time, the renewal of inspiration. I am proud to be the link between these two Welles films. I take it as a gift from Orson, through the clouds." The Other Side of the Wind is a piece of history finally laid to rest and can now age gracefully. Somewhere in the universe Welles is looking down from above, smiling at his ultimate masterstroke.
The Other Side of the Wind is rated R (Restricted). For sexual content, graphic nudity and some language.