Review: Hockney Live from LA

Paying homage to the great David Hockney, reviews the touching and insightful documentary

Venue: York Picturehouse
Rating: ★★★★★

An affectionate look into the life and works of Hockney, pieced together in colourful visuals of his work, with intimate film and photography taken by Hockney and those that surrounded him. The works of art and his own documentary were inextricably intertwined with first-hand accounts of those that love him, the entire audience in the cinema was warmed by the adoration in the voices of the people who gave their perspective of their beloved David. The use of this witty and insightful anecdotes really embellished an otherwise standard account of the ever popular artist.

At times heartfelt and sensitive in its discussion of the more delicate issues in Hockney’s life, such as the death of his parents, and loss of a vast constituent of his friends in the AIDS pandemic, director Randall Wright magnificently constructed a piece that really allowed us to see through Hockney’s eyes, by the closing credits we were all masters of his unique and inspired ways of seeing the world. Hockney’s eyes glistened with warmth as he talked about his life back home in Bradford, especially when discussing the topic of his mother. Wright beautifully visualised this incredible relationship with pieces of home video, captured by Hockney; he and his family playing scrabble by a small hearth in a tiny terrace, rushing forward to Hockney delicately walking her along the beach near his modest house in Santa Monica, a couple of years before her death.

This documentary was able to weave from past to present seamlessly, an account spanning Hockney’s long and continuing career, and in the short space of just under 2 hours, we had lived with David through every moment, behind the camera. The film ended with Hockney giving Wright a tour of his new studio in LA, now a 77 year old man, still with that glisten of pure optimism in his eye, that sheer will that brought him from their two- up- two- down in the industrial streets of Bradford to the other side of the globe in LA; bringing those that he holds most dear with him for the ride, and it was a pleasure to be afforded the role of witness in this film. Wright has created here in this documentary a masterwork of nuanced biography; I have nothing but praise.

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