Hockney, film review: Film reveals artist's dandyism, brilliance, and formidable work ethic

(15) Randall Wright, 110 mins
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The Independent Culture

The feted British artist David Hockney emerges from this very sprightly documentary as a cross between Alan Bennett and Andy Warhol.

The film deals equally convincingly with every part of Hockney's life – his Yorkshire roots, his formative years at Bradford Art School and the Royal College of Art in London, his time in Los Angeles, his drawing, painting, his work for opera and his experiments with iPad art.

The director Randall Wright pays scrupulous attention to Hockney's work while also chronicling key episodes in his private life in a frank but never prurient way.

The film-makers have tracked down revealing archive footage of Hockney, and have interviewed many of his confidantes and contemporaries. We learn how painstakingly Hockney worked to paint his image of the splash in the LA pool. It is made clear how many friends he lost from Aids. The doc even acknowledges his passion for smoking. What the film makes apparent isn't just Hockney's dandyism and brilliance, but also his formidable work ethic.