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Orson Welles' 'The Other Side of the Wind' Blows Into the Cinematheque

Cinematheque director John Ewing has programmed the finest foreign, classic and independent films for more than three decades in Cleveland. 

So when he describes a screening as the "film event of the century," local film fanatics take note.

Tonight a new film by the late Orson Welles, "The Other Side of the Wind," premieres after hanging in limbo since the 1970s.

"People my age have waited most of our whole lives just to see this film.  I remember reading about it when I was in college," Ewing said.

While Welles shot all the footage for the film, he never finished editing it because he couldn't get the funding.

Peter Bogdanovich & John Huston in "The Other Side of the Wind" [courtesy: Netflix]

Now, thanks to Netflix, along with fellow director and friend Peter Bogdanovich, the film is finished and available on the streaming service.

But if you want to see it on the big screen on 35 millimeter film, you can do so at the Cleveland Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art this weekend

Ewing wrote to Netflix months ago about the Cinematheque possibly hosting a local screening, but he didn't hear back for a long time. 

He had high hopes that he'd get permission eventually.

"If you look in the Cinematheque's November-December printed schedule, we actually have a big question mark for a film to be announced.  I never do that," he said.

Despite not making the schedule's deadline, Ewing secured the rights in time to screen the film the same day it premieres on Netflix.

John Huston in "The Other Side of the Wind"[courtesy: Netflix]

The film stars John Huston as an aging film director who's struggling to get his film made, which parallels Welles' own professional life.

Meanwhile, Ewing's programmed a series of Welles' classics, like "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Touch of Evil," and "Citizen Kane" at the Cinematheque in the weeks to follow.

"Why I like Orson Welles is the chill I get when you see the smoke rising at the end of Citizen Kane or [when] the guy kneels before the fireplace in 'The Magnificent Ambersons.'  The films are very emotional," he said.

The Other Side of the Wind screens at the CinemathequeFriday at 9 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1:45 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.