F FOR FAKE (1973)

(Criterion/HBO MAX/VOD) It’s undeniable that Orson Welles — the man who faked an alien invasion via a radio play — is a trickster, but his ‘cinematic essay’ F FOR FAKE is perhaps the apex of his trickster skills. It’s not just an examination of art forger Elmyr de Hory, not just a profile of Clifford Irving’s illicit and fabricated Howard Hughes biography, but also a deep dive into the nature of authorship, authenticity, intent, and narrators. Despite how heavy that sounds, the film’s extraordinarily playful, staying true to Welles’ trickster self.