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A Bigger Splash


Blending documentary and fiction, this innovative 1973 film, in a stunning new 4K restoration, features artist David Hockney starring as himself, at the center of a story providing an intimate insider’s look at Swinging London at the crossroads of the ‘60s and the ‘70s.
The film’s title is taken from the best-known painting of Hockney’s acclaimed swimming pool series (in 2018, Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist: Pool with Two Figures,” the creation of which is documented in the film, broke the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist). Seen through the lens of the post-breakup angst of an in-demand artist struggling with creative block, the laid-back plot plays with eroticism, gay hookups, and the casually pan-sexual hedonism of the 1970s. The film also offers an honest-yet-tender depiction of gay male romance that dispenses with the then-current narratives of self-hatred and self-pity, as well as an invaluable view of art history in action, and a record of artistic creation that is in itself a work of art. Underlining the hall-of-mirrors effect, all the characters play themselves, including: era-defining fashion designer Ossie Clark, his textile designer wife Celia Birtwell, gallery owner John Kasmin, art curator and critic Henry Geldzahler, and Hockney’s former lover Peter Schlesinger. (Dir. by Jack Hazan, 1973, UK, 105 mins., Not Rated)

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