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A BIGGER SPLASH

UK, 1974 (MIFF 1975)

Director: Jack Hazan

A Bigger Splash is a feature film without professional actors. Rather, real people appear as themselves, and their relationships with each other are more or less as in reality. The film was made over a period of three and a half years, with the characters speaking in a vernacular of their own, but on themes suggested by the director, Jack Hazan.

The plot follows loosely the experiences of David Hockney, Britain's most famous young painter and darling of the 'swinging London' of the sixties. David is distraught when his lover and model, Peter, leaves him to return to America. For months, he attempts to complete a portrait of Peter, living alone in his modern and sterile flat. He develops visions of Peter frolicking in a California swimming pool with other boys. Eventually, he destroys the 'Peter' canvas and his six months' work, to the despair of the gallery owner who was counting on it to restore his own fortunes. David is persuaded to give up his life in London and move to the States, But he doesn't find Peter and resolves to get rid of all his paintings of him; he will keep only his portraits of his mother.

The film had its beginnings in May 1970 when Hazan approached David Hockney about the project. Hazan took on the camera work in order to maintain the trust he had developed between the actors and himself. Camera movements were kept to a minimum, and lenses that might provide unnatural results were avoided. So there are no zooms in the film at all. The sets were chosen to reproduce as realistically as possible the atmosphere of David Hockney's paintings. Even the outside sequences were filmed under cloudy skies to avoid any break in the quality of the light.

David Hockney's reputation as a major international painter followed his retrospective exhibition in 1970 which was shown throughout Europe. In 1972 came an exhibition in New York, featuring the Peter by the Pool painting, which dominates the film. The title, A Bigger Splash, is taken from another painting, completed in 1967.

'As a bonus to its humour and originality, it is probably the best shot British movie ever; some would say the best British movie ever. It does ask rather a lot of those who, despite protestations to the opposite, are unable to come to terms with their own prejudices.' Film

”A Bigger Splash' is unforgiveably solemn, something that Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey would never have allowed.'Vincent Canby, Ny Times

Second Grand Prix, Locarno

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