There will be plenty of star-studded movies arriving in theaters between now and the end of the year, many of them vying for spots on critics’ top 10 lists and nominations from illustrious awards bodies. Yet none has been as long-awaited, or as mired in legal troubles and controversy, as The Other Side of the Wind, the uncompleted last film of Orson Welles, the legendary director of Citizen Kane. After decades of troubles, the feature will debut this Friday at the Venice International Film Festival, and then make its way to Netflix in November. To whet fans’ appetites, the streaming giant has now released a scintillating initial trailer.
The Other Side of the Wind is a satire of both old and new (circa the 1970s) Hollywood, starring a number of real-life directors led by John Huston (as “the Ernest Hemingway of the Cinema”). Employing a wealth of different camera stocks and cinematographic styles, Welles shot the film from 1970 to 1976, but due to all sorts of production and financial complications, he never fully assembled it. Even after his passing, attempts to finish the film according to the late auteur’s specifications, which involved a radical, hyperfast editorial structure, were routinely thwarted by rights-ownership issues, because a variety of people owned different parts of the existing footage. That’s all changed, however, thanks to Netflix, which in 2017 struck a deal, with everyone’s approval, to put the film together, complete with a new score by Michel Legrand. It’s a project 40 years in the making that has now been triumphantly completed.
Following its premiere at Venice and a subsequent showing at the New York Film Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 14), The Other Side of the Wind will be available to moviegoers worldwide courtesy of Netflix, which will release it online on Nov. 2. According to the promo, it will hit “select theaters” as well. Cinephiles, plan accordingly.
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