I was stunned today when I came across this (NSFW) clip from Orson Welles’ never-completed final film The Other Side of the Wind (circa 1972?). Certainly formally brilliant, but I’ll leave it to you to decide: is it pornographic? Misogynistic? Subversive? Genuinely erotic? Other?
I just don’t know what to think of it. It’s such a charge to the senses. Taken in its isolation from the rest of the film, the scene is almost dangerously provocative and mysterious.
The Other Side of the Wind is a satire about an old-guard Hollywood director (played by John Huston) who in the early seventies decides to make a “sex-and-symbolism” picture, in order to keep up-to-speed with the New Hollywood countercultural movement (typified by such films as Easy Rider). I have no idea where the above clip fits into the story; possibly it emanates from the film-within-a-film. Hopefully soon Peter Bogdanovich or somebody will tackle a final edit of Welles’ raw material and we’ll really be able to sort out this scene’s meaning. (Or have it complicated even further.)
If nothing else, here’s proof that Welles’ career as a director can hardly be defined by studio films like Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil.
How did you react to the above clip?