The Other Side of the WindKen Eisner
Get past the whipsaw editing of the first 15 minutes and things settle down in this two-hour fever dream, pulled together from massive amounts of footage shot, on wildly varied film stocks, between 1970 and 1985. A jazzy score from Michel Legrand brings needed cohesion to the tale of a fading director (John Huston) who abuses and is betrayed by those around him. It’s unlikely that this old-timer would make the psychedelic film-within-a-film seen here -- much of which features Welles muse Oja Kodar in the nude -- but the ubiquitous whirring of tabloid cameras feels prescient. And it’s an amazing time capsule of old Hollywood, with folks like Dennis Hopper, Edmond O’Brien, and Susan Strasberg rubbing shoulders.
Surrounded by fans and skeptics, grizzled maverick director J.J. "Jake" Hannaford returns from years of exile abroad in Europe to a changed Hollywood, where he attempts to make his innovative comeback film, The Other Side of the Wind.
Even if it may not exactly be the movie its creator would have made, the artifact is still a thorny, inventive, brain-melting tour de force that confirms Welles's skill at finding beauty and meaning within chaos.