Thursday 9th October – Vue West End
Saturday 11th October – Ritzy Brixton
The great thing about watching a documentary about someone who is not only still alive but also participatory is that it cuts a lot of waffle. Randell Wright has collated and directed a stunning piece of informative film. Spotlighting an artist with a no nonsense attitude to the necessity, importance and life in art, Hockney is a timely intervention in growing dissolution with modern art.
Making wonderful use of the personal video and photographic archive provided by David Hockney himself, it is the incredibly intimate and fascinating fly-on-the-wall account of his life to date that makes this documentary so extraordinary.
The content is layered in the way Hockney’s life has been influenced; through his education, his family, people and artists he met, loved and continues to love. Mostly chronological but more an informal re-telling there is no real narrator, nor is there need for one. Not at all stuffy or methodical, but a straightforward telling of a complex life.
Both profound and witty quotes – in fittingly colourful lettering – act as bookmarks to the sections of the film. Happily sliding between the juxtaposing rolling Yorkshire moors and the many landscapes of America, namely glamorous LA, there is little that divides the artistic and the personal. Pinning down specific pivotal experiences in David Hockney’s life, serious speculation is ruptured with a great sense of humour.
Formative love affairs, friendships and the destructive effect of the AIDS epidemic are tenderly recounted alongside his paintings. The onscreen changes are brilliantly matched up to his verbal exploration of his own practice. Understanding of time in photography and painting, he calls himself “a snapper” but goes on to explain what he is actually doing when taking a photograph. By no means should art need to be explained or justified but Hockney is a fantastically insightful film.
Hockney is released nationwide on 28th November 2014.
To read more reviews from the BFI London Film Festival visit here.