David Hockney has been one of the superstars of the British pop art world for fifty years now, director Randall Wright celebrates this by assembling a host of talking heads and footage for the documentary Hockney.
Having already made a documentary about Hockney, Wright is in prime position to tell his story. The film does the standard “this is where I was born” right up to the hear and now format. Along the way a host of Hockney’s friends and contemporaries who talk lovingly about the man revealing an effervescent character who’s had some ups and down emotionally from time to time. That’s about it. There’s nothing particular revelatory about the whole thing it’s just pretty standard.
Which is the great shame about the whole affair. Hockney’s works take everyday scenery and seemingly normal situations and created something wonderful with them. The film which aims to celebrate it is as about as exciting as watching someone making a sandwich which you won’t get to it. The most intriguing moments show Hockney at work in his studio on old hand-held camera footage, shots taken by Hockney himself in his house have a behind-the-scenes sense of revelation about them. Interestingly the man himself appears in interview form but appears almost like a guest at his own party. Only chiming up now and again to talk about his own life and works. Seeing his latest works on an iPad which he makes now in 70s shows that he is someone who still has a passion to create but the film still seems to want to talk about anecdotes and peoples opinions on him as opposed to discussing the work itself.
Many of the stories discussed are already widely known to the artists enthusiasts so the film really acts as an intro to life and times of Hockney. The question is do many people want to watch a stilted documentary for two hours? I for one was hoping for some more in-depth revelations or more analysis of the works. And they are there it’s just everything is packed in to a point where everything gets skimmed over. Hockney’s work and his life are fascinating things but this film renders them simply ‘meh’. A disappointing achievement.