Why Orson Welles Matters More Today Than Ever

What is there to say about Orson Welles that hasn’t been regurgitated a thousand times before, least of all this week, the centennial of his birth?

How about this: I named my cat after him. Two-year-old Orson, a rascally lynx-point siamese rescued from the alleyways of Tennessee, regularly throws his weight around the Brooklyn apartment that now defines his world. He doesn’t take “no” for an answer; his instincts won’t allow it. He doesn’t come when you call and rarely plays nice. But when he shows up on his own terms, he’s impossible to ignore — at once lovable and playfully irascible, always demanding your attention. He thrives on companionship but could turn on you at any moment. Typical Orson.

Welles’ legacy contains a similarly erratic appeal. Yes — the character whose persona has lasted the decades is resolutely catlike, not only in appearance but in fierce demeanor. Adored from his youth onward, Welles found a distinct set of collaborators with his Mercury Theater company early on, but had a rougher time figuring out how to work within the confines of the Hollywood studio system. The brilliance of “Citizen Kane” was something of a fluke, its formal ingenuity and liberating vibrance somehow assembled out of the sheer youthful determination of the artist determining its creation…

Read the rest of this article from Indiewire & check out this bonus piece on two new docs about the late Welles, coming from Cannes.