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Although eventually their series would focus on living artists, in the early years Labarthe and Bazin did include some films made about filmmakers “unavailable for interviews.” One of them was Erich von Stroheim, director, actor, and “the man you love to hate.” In their research, the crew discovered a cousin of Stroheim’s living in Vienna, and so they went there hoping to see his childhood haunts. But the cousin’s stories became more outlandish as his demands for payment became more strident, until Labarthe and Bazin realized the whole cousin thing was a fraud. Yet another mystery in the life of a man who cultivated the air of enigma; Valery’s film attempts to separate the man from his myth.
Image courtesy of THE KOBAL COLLECTION