OVID.tv Presents EDWARD HOPPER Film Review – Explores Artist’s Journey

Solemn silence falls as we directly stare at the framed piece of artwork, like admiring art in a museum. The art depicts an empty street corner; the only source of light is a late-night diner illuminating the street. Three customers and a server with hunched shoulders wear a dissatisfied expression on their face. Most of the characters stare off into space, preoccupied in their own thoughts. A feeling of melancholia looms over the painting. A low somber voice of the narrator breaks the silence.

We are suddenly snapped out of the sense of loneliness evoked by Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Upon first seeing the painting Ron Peck formed a deep connection, identifying with the subjects.

It felt like all the bars I've ever been in and spent all night in. Somewhere to go in all that blackness. 

EDWARD HOPPER Provides an Intimate Look

The film presents the famous paintings by Hopper. However, in Edward Hopper, Peck pulls back the curtain and focuses on Hopper's life, taking time to go through the experiences that shaped him into the widely respected artist he is today. Edward Hopper covers the small neighborhood he grew up in, his studies in Europe, and the seismic impact his wife had on his career. The majority of the film is told through voice over while the camera hovers still images. Some of the pictures provide a detailed look of the different homes he lived in throughout his life.

OVID.tv Explores the Artist’s Suffering in EDWARD HOPPER

The film frequently refers to the tortured artist trope. Throughout the film Peck refers to Hopper as a man who struggled hard and an American success story. In addition, Peck bluntly states that Edward Hopper himself accepted suffering as natural. Having been rejected from many juried exhibitions, success did not come naturally. While living in New York feelings of loneliness and isolation were ever present in private life and later influenced his work. He worked as a commercial illustrator for 18 years and struggled to sell paintings for a decade. Many know of Nighthawks but don't know the struggles earlier in his career. Edward Hopper shines a light on the less glamorous and mundane parts of the artist's life.

About half of the documentary’s visuals are closeups of Hooper’s work, often with no voiceover or music. The remainder being still photographs of places where he lived. For this reviewer, the pace of the film was slow. Devout fans of Hopper’s work will likely not be as troubled by the static visuals followed by a long silence.

This is a top pick film for ardent Hopper fans; others may find it less intriguing.


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Film Maker: Ron Peck
Curator: Gail Levin

Production: Patsy Nightingale
Production: Robert Epstein
Production: John Wright
Production: Eline Sunshine
Dubbing Mixer: Richard King
Sound: Derek Williams
Sound: Roger Ollerhead

To watch the film, visit the OVID.tv page for EDWARD HOPPER

Images courtesy of OVID.tv


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