A legendary figure, the living myth of the creative artist, Orson Welles was the man who reinvented the language of theatre and cinema at the age of 24. He was a man of a thousand faces, continually appearing in new forms, revealing endlessly unseen facets. He was a moralist, a humanist, a Don Juan, a glutton, an American and a homeless exile, an actor, a film-maker, a comedian, a poet, and an eternal child prodigy seeking to return to a state of grace. A child leading us into a maze of mirrors reflecting his talents, that he spins and twists as he pleases, never fully revealing what lies behind his imposing figure. This film is a journey into the heart of the man behind the legend.


David Thomson: film historian. He devoted several years to writing a biography of Orson Welles, « Rosebud ».
“I think his tragic dimension comes from the fact that he’s not an ordinary human being. From his birth, he was so precocious and brilliant that he never really had a childhood, and that affected him all his life.“

Henry Jaglom: Independent film-maker and friend of Welles. He published a book recounting his memorable lunches with him.
“He was the least complicated man I’ve ever known. All he wanted was to make films”.

Joseph Mc Bride: Film professor at Berkeley, he has written three books about him and is working on a fourth. 
"He was always independent in his own mind, making films his own way and not in the Hollywood way."

The director: Elisabeth Kapnist
Writer and director, and founding member of the Ateliers Varan, Elisabeth Kapnist began her career in 1982 with « Diadia Pavlik, my uncle from Russia ». A first film and a first success. Retracing the history of her family during the Russian Revolution, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Festival de Belfort. Fascinated by the complexity of great artists’ work and lives, she has worked on portraits of Jean Cocteau, Nathalie Sarraute, Louise Weiss, Isadora Duncan, Carolyn Carlson. 

French narrator: Céline Sallette
English narrator: Sharon Mann Vallet
Camera: Thomas Bataille
Editor: Dominique Faysse
Original music composed and performed by: Samuel Hirsch
produced by Fanny Glissant and Jean Labib 
for Compagnie des Phares et Balises with ARTE France 

National Broadcaster : ARTE France
A film co-produced by Compagnie des Phares et Balises and ARTE France

With the participation of RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, ORF and YLE 
With the support of CNC, PROCIREP and ANGOA 
and Creative Europe programme - MEDIA of the European Union

© Arte France - Cie des Phares & Balises - 2014


Official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, Cannes Classics (2015)

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