A Bigger Splash

Thematic In Process: Documenting Creativity

Through a bold hybrid approach, Jack Hazan’s A Bigger Splash documents David Hockney’s life in London over a period of three tumultuous years, ending in 1973. Sharing its title with Hockney’s iconic painting of a California swimming pool, the film interlaces documentary footage of the artist and his circle of friends with fictionalized scenes that chronicle the end of the artist’s relationship with Peter Schlesinger, his partner and muse. During this time, Hockney struggles to complete his large-scale painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), in which he and Schlesinger are the two figures, obsessively painting and repainting it.

The film originally received an X rating in Britain for its forthright and intimate depictions of gay male romance. First released in 1974, A Bigger Splash was rereleased in 2019 after being restored in 4K. Hazan’s incredible access—in one famous sequence, the camera follows Hockney into the shower—and how the narrative is constructed raise inescapable questions about the collaboration between the filmmaker and the artist. Just how involved was Hockney in shaping his own image?  ST


Jack Hazan


Jack Hazan, Mike Kaplan


David Mingay


Jack Hazan

Release Year


Festival Year



United Kingdom

Run Time

105 minutes