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film

WET DREAM

Jack Hazan, A Bigger Splash, 1974, 35 mm transferred to 4K video, color, sound, 106 minutes. David Hockney.

SEXY. David Hockney luxuriates in the word, adding extra sibilance to the adjective, one he applies to a friend, the American model Joe MacDonald, who sits with him in a hotel room in Geneva in June 1973. Their flirty conversation occurs early on in Jack Hazan’s A Bigger Splash (1974), a partly scripted, partly improvised quasi documentary about the English painter, then at the height of his fame and recently broken up with Peter Schlesinger, the subject of some of Hockney’s best-known works. Fact embellished by fiction (and vice versa), A Bigger Splash, protean in structure, explores fluid connections: Within Hockney’s milieu are onetime lovers who are now friends, friends who are not yet lovers, and ex-lovers who have yet to become friends. The film—whose central figure has never not been out (at least since his Royal College of Art days in the early 1960s, several years before

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