These documentaries were both shot during Welles’ later — some might say — less productive and, well, less relevant years. That being said, I believe these are two of his most interesting works. They may not be as universally groundbreaking as Citizen Kane or serve as an omni-generational bridge between young and old classic story aficionados as many of his adaptations of Shakespeare. But, they are nonetheless genius and incredibly relevant today.
Filmed in 1972, Future Shock was just a year before one of Welles’ most borderline madcap, yet intriguing films, the documentary, F for Fake.
F for Fake is Welles’ weirdly directed, oddly shot, and at times a somewhat scatterbrained documentary which catalogs Welles’ relationship with a seemingly unattainable woman, the life of artist Elmyr De Hory as well as other peripheral characters. The most interesting parts of the documentary deal with De Hory who is one of the finest — and most lucrative — art forgers in contemporary history, perhaps of all time. His proclivity towards homosexual indiscretions and flamboyant public behavior are as engaging as the fact that he can draw a perfect Picasso in about five minutes. The documentary also features cameo appearances by other luminaries of the time like The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon director, Peter Bogdanovich and even a brief mention of the legendary Howard Hughes.
In the book “Future Shock,” the author Alvin Toffler thought that, “too much change in too short a period of time” would prove detrimental to society as a whole. Toffler’s basic theory of societal destruction is perhaps applicable more now today than ever. We are inundated every day with the “best,” “newest,” “fastest” and “coolest” gadgets that technology has to offer. Or we are so engaged with social media and forget other things around us.
At the time, it seems, Future Shock was overshadowed by F for Fake, as well as other things happening in both Welles’ professional and personal life. But it could have also been because the main theory embedded in Future Shock sounded ludicrous to most people at the time. Whereas today, with “End-Days” TV, documentaries and apocalyptic reality shows abound, I’m sure he’d reach a greater audience and greet a much better reception.
Whether I agree with Toffler or whether I feel this fast-paced life is a good thing, or bad thing is irrelevant to the basis of this post. Although, I will admit it’s hard for me to pick a side.
Either way, I think Future Shock does need to be re-visited by enthusiastic fans of Welles’ work, as well as those not too familiar with one of the best writer/directors of all-time.
If you haven’t seen F for Fake, you can watch it below. Which do you feel is more noteworthy in these current times? What are your thoughts on Toffler’s “too much change in too short a period of time” theory? Does it apply today? Does it apply this VERY SECOND?
Let me know what you guys think in the comments.