David Hockney, the British artist who came to America in the 1960s and found it satisfied him in all kinds of ways. His output down the decades since has included paintings of simplicity, sophistication and remarkable use of color; mind-expanding photography in which the placement and framing is as important as the photographs themselves; and some colorful, lively set design. The artist and his work have continued to evolve, and seeing/understanding this evolution is one of the several accomplishments of the fine new documentary by Randall Wright called simply HOCKNEY.
A Bigger Splash made back in the 1970s, during the time Hockney was reeling from the breakup with his lover (perhaps the only important one in his life), Peter Schlesinger. Wright's film is much more professional than Jack Hazan's but the two no doubt complement each other in very interesting ways. (TrustMovies has not seen A Bigger Splash in maybe 20 years, so his memory of it may need some rebooting.)
Henry Geldzahler is explored here, too, and the reminiscences of others of his set are often funny and telling. The artist's own memories prove a lot of fun, too, as he speaks about everything from his parents to Picasso and his run-in with British Customs regarding a cache of male nude magazines.
Film Movement and running a lengthy-but-never-uninteresting 112 minutes, Hockney opens today, Friday, April 22, in New York (at The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the new Metrograph) and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal and Playhouse 7. To see all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed, click here and then scroll down.