Filming The Trial (1981, Orson Welles)

“A film should never be an illustration of a book or a play; it should be itself.”

Welles is in a good place here – not a passive interview subject nor the hammy magician from F For Fake nor the self-important actor/director, but some happy role in between those. But I know Welles can be a suave, informative and entertaining fellow; what’s surprising here is that it’s a 90-minute Q&A, seemingly unedited (except when the camera ran out of film) without being full of stupid questions from the audience. The same day I watched this, Katy & I attended a Q&A with an author at the book festival at which ALL (or at least most) of the questions were stupid. Somehow, some university found a group who was familiar with The Trial (maybe they’d just watched it), interested in the conversation, and not just raising their hands to ask “what are your influences?” in order to get themselves on camera.

So, a good interview, full of valuable material. It’s inexcusable that this isn’t out on DVD alongside the film itself. Welles was making great DVD extras twenty years before there were DVDs.