HOPPER/WELLES

  • USA
  • 2000

Two "mavericks", independent spirits who changed Hollywood with their debut films - and yet could hardly be more different: Orson Welles, a theater and radio wunderkind who redefined what cinema could be at just 26 years old with Citizen Kane (1941); and Dennis Hopper, once a James Dean buddy and hard-to-control method actor, who gave the ailing studio system a much-needed makeover with the 1969 global hit Easy Rider.

The European-influenced sophisticate Welles meets the hippie cowboy Hopper in Beverly Hills in November 1970. Hopper smokes a chain and drinks gin and tonic, filmed by several 16mm cameras. Welles is never seen, but his famous sonorous voice gives him a godlike presence.

In just over two hours, Hopper/Welles shows no more than the conversation between the two - and it is precisely this limitation that makes it so captivating. Welles is fascinated by Hopper, this spawn of the zeitgeist, at the height of his fame, and tries to lure him out of his cover; Hopper puts forward the primitive "non-intellectual" who does not want to commit himself politically or in the question of the role of the director (god, magician, poet?). Hopper/Welles is also a dazzling document of two masters of manipulation. sv

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