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Exploring the Visual World of a Legend: The Eyes of Orson Welles

An intimate exploration of Orson Welles' visual world, as revealed through his private artworks.

Keywords: Orson Welles, Art, Filmmaking, Creativity, Documentary, Mark Cousins.


"The Eyes of Orson Welles," directed by Mark Cousins and released in 2018, delves into the visual artistry of the iconic filmmaker and actor, Orson Welles. In an era where media continues to evolve, the documentary offers an intimate portrayal of Welles, revealing his creative process and artistic vision, which remains relevant and influential today.


The documentary provides an unprecedented look into Welles' private collection of drawings and paintings, revealing a hitherto unseen side of the artist. Cousins delves into the visual world of Welles, illustrating a portrait of the artist as never seen before.

More Film Analysis


"The Eyes of Orson Welles" is a participatory and observational documentary that brilliantly showcases Cousins' unique research methods and insightful subject exploration. The documentary's presentation style is intimate and evocative, effectively portraying Welles' artistic genius.

Historical and Factual Context

Orson Welles, renowned for his film "Citizen Kane," was also an accomplished painter and sketch artist. His artworks, mostly kept private during his lifetime, offer a deeper understanding of his creative process and worldview.

Key themes in the film

  • The inseparable bond between an artist's personal and artistic life.
  • The profound influence of visual arts on filmmaking.
  • The enduring impact of Welles' artistic vision in contemporary media.

Film Comparisons

Unlike other documentaries about Welles, such as "Orson Welles: Shadows & Light," this film focuses on his visual artistry, providing a fresh perspective on the legendary artist's life and work.

Noteworthy Moments

One of the most impactful moments is the unveiling of Welles' private artworks, offering a raw and intimate glimpse into his artistic mind and creative process.


The documentary has been praised for its unique approach and in-depth exploration of Welles' life. As Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian noted, "It's a love letter, an analysis, an act of critical resurrection and a speculation."


"The Eyes of Orson Welles" is an insightful and intimate portrayal of a legendary artist's visual world. It's a recommended watch for film enthusiasts, art lovers, and anyone interested in understanding the creative process of a genius.

More film information:


  • IMDB score 6.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
  • Metacritic score: 79
  • Awards: 3 wins & 5 nominations



  • Orson Welles: Acclaimed filmmaker and artist, known for his innovative filmmaking style and artistic vision.
  • Mark Cousins: Renowned documentarian, known for his in-depth exploration of cinematic themes and historical contexts.



  • Hollywood: The center of the American film industry, where Welles created some of his most iconic works.
  • Woodstock Art Colony: Where Welles spent his early years learning painting and sketching.

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  1. How does visual art influence filmmaking?
  2. How does an artist's personal life and worldview reflect in their work?
  3. What can we learn from Orson Welles' creative process?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - a profound exploration of art and identity.
  2. A famous song, "Vincent" by Don McLean - a tribute to an artist's unappreciated genius.
  3. A famous piece of art, "The Starry Night" by Van Gogh - a captivating blend of reality and the artist's inner world.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Charlie Chaplin - a figure synonymous with creative genius and innovation.
  5. A colour, it would be deep blue - symbolising depth, wisdom, and creativity.
  6. A music style, it would be Jazz - known for its improvisation, emotional depth and artistic freedom.

Watch The Eyes of Orson Welles - Streaming Online | iwonder (Free Trial)
Granted exclusive access to hundreds of private drawings and paintings by Orson Welles, filmmaker Mark Cousins dives deep into the visual world of this legendary director and actor, to reveal a portrait of the artist as he’s never been seen before - through his own eyes, sketched with his own hand,…