Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Art > Gay > Documentary > A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash (1975/First Run DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: B-



Jack Hazan wanted to make a film about the great painter and artists David Hockney and Hockney agreed.  What was supposed to be about the painter turns into an abstract film about the breakup between the artist and Peter Schlesinger, his pretty boy gay lover in A Bigger Splash.  The 1975 film was banned and/or edited in several countries for what turns out to be simple nudity and a scene of sexual intimacy between Schlesinger and a young man other than Hockney that is far from graphic.


Hockney was obsessed with what he perceived to be Schlesinger’s beauty and featured him in work after work in a way that far surpasses any obsessive tendencies Andy Warhol could have ever been accused of having over Joe Dallesandro.  The film was supposed to be a booklike documentary, but Hazan decides to edit it more abstractly in a way suggesting both ironic distance between the men and in a way that suggests the loneliness of the artist in the way the visuals of his art are composed.  Unfortunately, the film lands up in an unintended twilight zone between both.  Also, a scene with four young nude men swimming for a while in a beautiful swimming pool similar to those in Hockney’s works suggests an attempt to offer a gay male version of Mikhail K. Kalatozov’s 1964 Russian/Cuban, Communist/Socialist classic I Am Cuba (whether they had seen it or not) without any political subtexts, save sexual freedom.


The film has too many scenes that seem staged, so somewhere during the production, the idea of a purely journalistic documentary went out the window.  The film never offers why the breakup happened, except that the “sexy” young guy left the older one behind for more young guys, which is as clichéd as anything.  It never asks outside of Hockney’s money and/or fame why Schlesinger was with Hockney in the first place.  Instead, everyone feels like cutout to be fit into one of Hockney’s works and though that is “artistic” and visually interesting, it does not tell us enough about what is going on here, so A Bigger Splash can only show Hockney trapped in his own work.  That alone makes it still worth a look.


The letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image was shot on film and the print here is clean, clear and colorful throughout.  Too bad this was not anamorphically enhanced, because cinematographer-turned-director Hazan has created a good-looking work.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad, especially for its age, pointing to the materials being well kept in both cases.  Extras include stills, text interview with Hazan, text notes on the film and four trailers for other First Run titles.


For more on Hockney, try this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com