One of the most recognizable works of American art, Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks encapsulates the alienation and loneliness of the modern urban milieu. His haunting, enigmatic paintings are defined by a hard-edged realism and the presence of isolated figures alone in their thoughts. In life, Hopper was notoriously taciturn and seldom gave interviews or appeared in public. Director Brian O'Doherty, who knew Hopper and his wife, Jo, offers a rare documentary portrait of this aloof artist that is astute and revealing. O’Doherty compares the paintings to the locations that inspired them to suggest the connection between style and subject. Plus, Hopper and Jo are shown in footage from an old television interview, in which the painter is one step this side of mute. Jo often answers for him, a telling detail that says much about their relationship. The film’s subtle combination of observation and interview footage contains a surprising amount of insight and information. “Offers interesting and pragmatic insights and avoids undue presumption or esoteric analysis” (NY Times). “An exquisite portrait of this quiet artist and his world” (Getty Center).
Brian O’Doherty---USA---1981---47 mins.