Short of hanging the painting on your living room wall, Phil Grabsky’s popular Exhibition on Screen series may be the best way to spend quality time with a favourite artist. At least, that’s what it feels like as we’re immersed in the infinitely evocative oils of Edward Hopper, a poet with a paintbrush.
Although Hopper’s work seems straightforward—he’s an American realist after all—it’s also rich in paradox. If he seems to distill a certain sense of the American Century, particularly the urban environment, he also ignores great swathes of it; his cities are lonely places, scarcely populated. He’s a suggestive storyteller (we might think of Raymond Carver or Hemingway) but also a cryptic one, inviting us to fill in the blanks (no wonder he’s always been such a popular artist with filmmakers). As for his own life, he was impatient with attempts to psychoanalyze his work, but as Grabsky discovers, this consummate craftsman owed a great deal to the artist Josephine Nivison, who would become his wife and who sacrificed her own career to manage his.
The film draws on leading experts and curators, Hopper’s diaries and letters, but of course, the best reason to watch it is to bathe in close-ups of superb art.
Q&A Oct 5 & Oct 7
More Films in this Series
Music Pictures: New Orleans
Ben Chace (Sin Alas) dips into four recording sessions, beginning with the Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas; Benny Jones from the Treme Brass Band; Little Freddie King; and finally, father and son Ellis and Jason Marsalis.
Goya, Carrière and the Ghost of Buñuel
The late, great French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière—Buñuel's closest collaborator—guides us through the extraordinary riches of Francisco Goya's work, with further commentary by Julian Schnabel, Carlos Saura, and others.
Choreographer Pina Bausch's brilliance lives on as the Dresden Semperoper Ballet rehearses her Iphigenia in Tauris and dancers in Senegal breathe new life to The Rite of Spring. A fascinating insight into the lives of dancers and the power of movement.
Ana Sofia Fonseca's documentary about legendary singer Cesária Évora offers a rare glimpse into the Queen of Morna's mischievous humour, her love of Capo Verde, and her extraordinary ability to translate emotion into melody.
OKAY! (The ASD Band Film)
Filled with infectious melodies and catchy earworms, Okay! (The ASD Band Film) chronicles the band preparing to record their first album of original songs and play their first live show, while exploring their experience of being autistic.
Ever Deadly is an intimate portrait of the acclaimed Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, combining exceptional performance recordings with interviews, verité camerawork, archival material, and hand-drawn animation.
Hopper - An American Love Story
A realist on the surface, Edward Hopper always suggested worlds beyond his compositions, distilling a vivid, solitary sense of life in the 20th century. This doc from the Exhibition on Screen series explores America's favourite artist. World Premiere.
Lay Down Your Heart
Marie Clements' Lay Down Your Heart is a touching tribute to Niall McNeil, a multi-talented artist in theatre who happens to be a person living with Down Syndrome. A heartwarming celebration of a local artist who has succeeded on his own terms.
The King of Wuxia
Lin Jing-Jie’s film is a detailed, deeply poignant tribute to master filmmaker King Hu (1932-1997). Actors, crew members, and fellow directors pay tribute to the man and his work, and their recollections and analyses form a mosaic-like depiction.
Phil Grabsky, Amanda Wilkie
Michael Cascio, Cynthia Weber Cascio, Phil Grabsky, Amanda Wilkie
Shane Alcock, Robert Burnett, Joshua Csehak, Phil Grabsky
Phil Grabsky is a filmmaker who has won multiple awards for his directing, writing, producing, and cinematography. He and his company Seventh Art Productions are behind films such as Muhammad Ali – Through the Eyes of the World (2001), In Search of Beethoven (2009), and The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan (2011).
Grabsky has written four history books including the best-seller The Great Commanders. He has been a judge for the Emmy, BAFTA, Grierson, and One World awards, and has won Best Director and Services to Television awards at the Royal Television Society.
Filmography: In Search of Beethoven (2009); The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan (2011); Exhibition on Screen: Raphael Revealed (2020); My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan (2021)