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Hockney (4 stars)

Warm, insightful documentary from Randall Wright examining the celebrated artist

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Hockney

Britain’s most enduringly popular modern artist, David Hockney, has been the subject of many documentaries, including one made for TV by this film's director Randall Wright in 2003 (David Hockney: Secret Knowledge). None could claim to be as intimate and revelatory as this affectionate work, however.

Now 77, very deaf and shunning socialising to paint every day in his studio in LA — where he recently moved back to from Bridlington — Hockney gives Wright the run of his home movies and photographs. These range from family scenes in the post-war Bradford terrace where his much-loved dad taught him, 'Don’t worry about what the neighbours think,' introduced him to 'the pictures' that nurtured his love for Hollywood, and where he painted the tiny bedroom of his youth in a recognisably Hockney-esque fashion, to glimpses of swinging Sixties and glam Seventies fun, to contemporary observations on life, art and loss.

Hockney has been hailed as a witty original since his early days at the Royal Academy of Arts and his youthful odyssey to America, where the likeable, interesting young man with his thatch of bleached blond hair and owlish specs swiftly made friends and influenced people. He flew in the face of what was fashionable in modern art and he is still inspirational. There's ample footage of him at work or talking about his work: an unpretentious, dazzlingly colourful romp from pop art and swimming pools to photographic collages, portraiture of friends and lovers, innovative stage designs and monumental landscapes, created in old-school charcoal, oil paints, acrylics, Polaroids and even in the Brushes app for the iPad.

The man himself proves as colourful and engaging. A host of friends share anecdotes with much laughter, but Hockney's candid consideration of AIDS and the losses it inflicted in his life is deeply moving. Wright's film is warm, entertaining, and a great window into Hockney’s work.

Selected release from Fri 28 Nov.

HOCKNEY - Official UK trailer

Hockney

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • UK
  • 112 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Randall Wright
  • UK release: 28 November 2014

Intimate and affectionate portrait of Britain's most enduringly popular modern artist, with ample footage of him at work in his studio on LA. Friends provide entertaining anecdotes but Hockney's account of the losses that AIDS has inflicted on his life is deeply moving.

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