Contrary to popular belief, “F for Fake” is not Orson Welles’s last completed film. That honor goes to the rarely seen (or even discussed) 1978 documentary “Filming Othello.” As you would expect from the title, the doc traces the creation of Welles’s 1952 Palme d’Or-winning adaptation of “Othello.” Though the film was never officially released outside of one screening at the 1978 Berlin Film Festival and two in New York in 1979 and 1987, you can now watch it in the comfort of your home, courtesy of The Seventh Art.
Originally intended as the first component of an ongoing series documenting the creation of Welles’s films for German television, the second part, centering on “The Trial,” was like many projects in the twilight of his career never completed. It’s a shame the series never continued, but you can still see some of the partially completed second entry. It’s a great pleasure to get this particular glimpse into Welles’ creative process.
A restored version of “Othello” screened earlier this year at Film Forum in New York. While this edition will be released as Blu-ray in France later this year, for now Americans are still stuck with the DVD, until someone – cough Criterion cough – decides to release it on blu-ray stateside. For now, you can watch “Filming Othello” below.