The best film of 2018 just may be from a director who has been dead for over three decades. Throughout the better half of the ’70s, Orson Welles embarked on the production of The Other Side of the Wind, a project which was never completed while the legendary director was still alive due to financial issues. With the footage being locked away for over four decades, in the past few years producers Frank Marshall and Filip Jan Rymsza have led the charge to complete the film based on both edited footage from Welles as well as a bevy of notes and other materials left behind. Thanks to Netflix, it was confirmed they would fund the post-production and now, ahead of a Venice premiere, the first trailer has arrived.
Led by John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Robert Random, and Susan Strasberg, the meta-narrative follows J.J. “Jake” Hannaford, a director returning to Hollywood after a self-imposed exile. He’s at work on his comeback movie and as he puts the pieces together, he’s planning a work-in-progress screening all while being confronted by the press, his crew, his fans, and his own legacy. Featuring a new score by the iconic composer Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort) and edited by Sam Raimi’s frequent collaborator Bob Murawski, see the first trailer below.
In 1970, legendary director Orson Welles (CITIZEN KANE) began filming what would ultimately be his final cinematic opus with a cast of Hollywood luminaries including John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg and Welles’s partner during his later years, Oja Kodar. Beset by financial issues, the production ultimately stretched years and gained notoriety, never to be completed or released. More than a thousand reels of film negatives languished in a Paris vault until March of 2017, when producers Frank Marshall (who served as Welles’s production manager during his initial shooting) and Filip Jan Rymsza spearheaded efforts to have the film completed after over 40 years.
Featuring a new score by Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand and reassembled by a technical team including Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is Orson Welles’s vision fulfilled. It tells the story of grizzled director J.J. “Jake” Hannaford (Huston), who returns to Los Angeles after years in self-exile in Europe with plans to complete work on his own innovative comeback movie. Both a satire of the classic studio system and the New Hollywood that was shaking things up, Welles’s last artistic testament is a fascinating time capsule of a now-distant era in moviemaking as well as the long-awaited “new” work from an indisputable master.
The Other Side of the Wind plays at Venice and NYFF, and hits Netflix on November 2.