ARTS & CULTURE

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01/28/2011 03:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Around 1970, painter David Hockney was in London feeling listless. Or at least he was according to Jack Hazan's 1974 documentary, A Bigger Splash, which portrays Hockney as a lovesick, indecisive genius. The original NYTimes review of Hazan's film called it "unforgivably solemn, something that Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey would never have allowed." And it is solemn, sort of bathed in angsty mysteriousness and bogged down by its violin-heavy soundtrack. But a few scenes manage to take themselves seriously, and feel easy and honest at the same time. At one point, Hockney is laying in a dimly lit, orange-ish room beside Celia Birtwell, a designer and intermittent muse, speaking limply about a "cure"--a cure, the film suggests, from his distress over trouble with lover Peter Schlesinger, but also just a cure in general.

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