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A Bigger Splash [Blu-ray]
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A Bigger Splash is an intimate and innovative film about English-born, California-based artist David Hockney and his work, honoring its subject through creative risk-taking. Director Jack Hazan creates an improvisatory narrative-nonfiction hybrid featuring Hockney, a wary participant, as well as his circle of friends, capturing the agonized end of the lingering affair between Hockney
and his muse, an American named Peter Schlesinger. The result is at once a time capsule of hedonistic gay life in the 1970s, an honest-yet-tender depiction of gay male romance that dispenses with the then-current narratives of self-hatred and self-pity, an invaluable view of art
history in action, and a record of artistic creation that is itself a work of art.
-Audio commentary by director Jack Hazan
-Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton
-Love's Presentation (1962)
-Portrait of David Hockney (1972)
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Top international reviews
Since then I have seen a poor grainy video version of the film, partly cut, and even more heavily cut when it was on Channel 4. Originally an X certificate adults only film, it is now merely a 15! I'm not a film buff but the transfer on this DVD/Blue-ray set seems to be very good indeed, colours conveyed beautifully and how well lit and presented are Hockney's paintings!
This is a fictionalised documentary about the artist and his friends ... in the same way as modern shows like The Only Way is Essex. And what friends they are, the designers Celia Birtwell and her late husband Ossie Clark (murdered in the 90s) feature here, as well as Hockney's former partner, the photographer Peter Schlesinger and other beautiful young men - only identified by their first names. The story told concentrates on Hockney's state of mind after the break up of the relationship, and how this effects his ability to paint. It begins in 1973 and flashes back to 1971, then gradually bringing the story forward. Hockney's dependance on his friends is touching, especially to the intriguing Celia. There is a great deal of full-frontal male nudity in this film, including that of Hockney himself in one shower scene. The gay sex scene is of Peter Schlesinger with an unknown guy, and is certainly longer, grittier and more explicity erotic than anything in Brokeback Mountain! At the time, this shocked cinema goers.
I found the film mesmerising, but it does suffer from some longeurs and the narrative can be vague in places because of the way the director Jack Hazan made the film. Fortunately there are some brilliant extras included in this release, especially the detailed interview with Hazan himself. Recommended.
Who were the central characters? Where was the story? How long can a camera focus on two guys having dinner whilst a naked youth is plastered to their french windows watching them.
I'm not sure this film was directed so much as just happened.
Truly awful - it gives hope for the worst talent in film-making to come. Almost worth buying to truly appreciate how appalling 'art' can be...