The Immortal Story
1968, Orson Welles, France, 58 min.
With Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau
- Tue, Apr 16th 6:00pm
"Surpassingly, heartbreakingly beautiful…Viewers may find themselves seizing on individual moments, which are magnified by the depth and audacity of Welles’s formal imagination."--Chuck Bowen, Slant
The Danish writer Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen) was one of Welles's favorite authors, but, out of his several projects based on her work, THE IMMORTAL STORY was the only one that made it to the screen. Financed by French TV and at one point intended to be paired with another Dinesen story in a full-length feature, this exquisite mood-piece continues the autumnal melancholy of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT while also tackling the issues of art-making and authenticity that would lie at the heart of F FOR FAKE. Welles plays the "immensely rich" Macao merchant Mr. Clay, a pinched descendant of such God-playing Wellesian titans as Charles Foster Kane and Gregory Arkadin. When he learns that an ostensibly true story he had heard about a rich old man who hired a sailor to impregnate his young wife is actually an oft-told legend, the fact-minded Clay resolves to make it come true by reenacting it in real life. He dispatches his obedient clerk (Roger Coggio) to hire a willing woman (Moreau) and sailor (Norman Eshley) to play the roles. Welles only fiction film fully in color, THE IMMORTAL STORY is also his most restrained film, with a hauntingly contemplative tone in place of his usual razzle-dazzle. In English. Digital video. (MR)
The screening will include a lecture/discussion by renowned critic and Welles authority Jonathan Rosenbaum.