Watch the New Trailer for Orson Welles’ Lost Film, The Other Side of the Wind: A Glimpse of Footage from the Finally Completed Film

Orson Welles died more than 30 years ago, and his last fea­ture film F for Fake came out fif­teen years before that. But we’ll now have to revise our notions of where his fil­mog­ra­phy ends, since his long-unfin­ished project The Oth­er Side of the Wind just debuted at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val in advance of its Novem­ber 2nd release. Shot between 1970 and 1976, a process pro­longed by numer­ous finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, the film was first thrust into lim­bo in its third year of edit­ing by the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion, as some of its financ­ing had come from the Shah’s broth­er-in-law. The light at the end of The Oth­er Side of the Wind’s decades-long tun­nel of own­er­ship com­pli­ca­tions, when it final­ly appeared, took a form even Welles could nev­er have imag­ined: Net­flix.

The Oth­er Side of the Wind stars acclaimed film direc­tor John Hus­ton as an acclaimed film direc­tor named Jake Han­naford, recent­ly returned to Amer­i­ca after years of self-exile in Europe. An old-school rel­ic in the 1970s’ “New Hol­ly­wood” era, a time when a younger gen­er­a­tion of film­mak­ers like Mar­tin Scors­ese, Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la, and Ter­rence Mal­ick used the major stu­dios to real­ize per­son­al visions at a large cin­e­mat­ic scale, Han­naford tries to make a come­back with a coun­ter­cul­ture pic­ture of his own. Filled with long takes of vast land­scapes, mod­ern archi­tec­ture, a lone motor­cy­cle rid­er, and gra­tu­itous nudi­ty, this film-with­in-the-film, also called The Oth­er Side of the Wind, takes its cues not just from the New Hol­ly­wood kids but from Michelan­ge­lo Anto­nioni and the oth­er Euro­pean film­mak­ers then in vogue as well.

The “real” The Oth­er Side of the Wind, of which you can get a taste in the trail­er above, takes a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent tack, using doc­u­men­tary-style shoot­ing, quick cut­ting, and oscil­la­tion between col­or and black and white. This lay­er­ing of dif­fer­ent styles comes with a lay­er­ing of dif­fer­ent eras, each com­ment­ing on the oth­ers: the 1930s and 1940s that shaped Welles as a film­mak­er (and that Welles shaped as a peri­od in cin­e­ma), the New-Hol­ly­wood 1970s, and the present day, when a com­pa­ny like Net­flix has the clout to make projects hap­pen for any direc­tor, liv­ing or dead. The col­lab­o­ra­tion to com­plete the film involved new par­tic­i­pants as well as those who’d worked on it in the 1970s, like Welles asso­ciate Peter Bog­danovich, who played a film­mak­er in The Oth­er Side of the Wind not long after becom­ing a film­mak­er him­self.

Numer­ous oth­er direc­tors also appear in the film, from Gold­en-Age Hol­ly­wood jour­ney­man Nor­man Fos­ter to French New Wave fig­ure Claude Chabrol to coun­ter­cul­tur­al icon Den­nis Hop­per. As for Han­naford, a line in the trail­er describes him as “the Hem­ing­way of cin­e­ma,” the kind of macho artist who had long intrigued Welles, per­haps ever since he met and clashed with Hem­ing­way him­self. “He’s been reject­ed by all his old friends,” Welles once said of the Han­naford char­ac­ter in a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of the film. “He’s final­ly been shown up to be a kind of voyeur… a fel­low who lives off oth­er peo­ple’s dan­ger and death.” He put it more blunt­ly to Hus­ton in a quote that appears in Josh Karp’s book Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Mak­ing of The Oth­er Side of the Wind: “It’s a film about a bas­tard direc­tor. It’s about us, John. It’s a film about us.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Orson Welles’ First Ever Film, Direct­ed at Age 19

Dis­cov­er the Lost Films of Orson Welles

F for Fake: Orson Welles’ Short Film & Trail­er That Was Nev­er Released in Amer­i­ca

Watch Orson Welles’ Trail­er for Cit­i­zen Kane: As Inno­v­a­tive as the Film Itself

Orson Welles Remem­bers his Stormy Friend­ship with Ernest Hem­ing­way

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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