The Other Side of Wind – Hmm, Interesting

Rating (3.5 out of 5)

The Other Side of Wind was filmed in 1970’s by the late Orson Welles.  Due to various reasons the film was never finished.  Only recently was the 100 hours of material edited and finalized and available on Netflix.  Much like Day for Night, the movie provides insight into the personalities behind the films in the 70’s and the vibrant personalities and conflicts had me hooked.

My score maybe a bit high for your average movie watcher as The Other Side of Wind leans to the artsy.  If you appreciate movies and the history of film, watch this movie.  If not, you might want to hold off until you have finished the rest the Netflix Library.  I would not recommend The Other Side of Wind for my wife or parents.

Plot:  A mockumentary about the director Jake Hannaford (John Huston) who is making a film.  The press, cast and crew are invited to his ranch for his birthday part and to screen the movie.

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What I Liked:   The film jumps around from black and white to color.  Each shot is from a different angle, depending on which group filming at the party.  The film technic adds to the dynamic that exists between all the characters.  Some might find it hard to watch, as the sequences flip all around a lot.

A tense relationship exists between everyone at the party…did anyone really care for another person, or did they all just coexist in the same industry?  An example is the monologue/open discussion led by Brooks Otterlake (Peter Bogdanovich), an apostle for Hannford’s.  The discussion jumps all around and reveals secrets and tensions between the characters.

John Huston is fantastic as John Mannaford.  The visible emotion changes dramaticly in the same sequence, from laughing at people arguing to the pain of becoming irrelevant.

What I Didn’t Like:   Not sure what to think about the movie within the movie.  The feature film they are screening at the party is the movie within the movie.   There is no dialog in the feature and leading lady spend a great deal of time walking around naked, with long drawn out shots.  The movie within a movie almost over powers the rest of the film, and perhaps could have been reduced in length.

Perhaps Mr. Welles is making fun of the movies he doesn’t like.  Maybe the previewing of a film Orson Welles himself despises and no one in attendance says anything negative, demonstrates how everyone just submitted to his whims.

Conclusion:  The Other Side of Wind isn’t for everyone but if you appreciate movies and the relationships between those making films,  watch The Other Side of the Wind.  Based on what little know of Orson Welles, I assume the film reflects his feelings towards the movie industry and is semi-biographical.