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56. Lucian Freud - A Self Portrait; movie review

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Title : 56. Lucian Freud - A Self Portrait; movie review
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Cert PG
86 mins
BBFC advice: Contains

It’s a pity I don’t have the opportunity to visit Nottingham’s Broadway more often - it really is a gem of an independent cinema.
And it is clearly beloved among the locals because Monday evening’s documentary about Lucian Freud was surprisingly well attended.
Exhibition on Screen docs chronicle the lives of great artists and artworks over the centuries - many only receive acclaim decades if not centuries later.
Happily, Freud, who died in 2011, was recognised in his own lifetime and one of his paintings - of a naked benefits supervisor sleeping - fetched an incredible £35.8m.
It is a particularly detailed piece of work but - with due respect to his model - I wouldn’t fancy her very ample breasts and belly hanging in my living room.
Freud wasn’t averse to painting nudes - indeed, a naked image of himself at the age of 70 is considered among his greatest work. I have to say he looks a fine figure of a man with the exception of a strangely gnarled central appendage.
I digress. David Bickerstaff’s movie combines Freud’s personal history with anecdotes from those who knew him and appreciations by experts of the various stages of his near-70-year career.
I knew next to nothing about him before the movie so I was delighted to be enlightened.
It turns out that Freud was a bit of a lad as well as being one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
How does he rank against his heroes - Rembrandt and Titian? It is easy to say that he falls short simply because they are so much more well known.
However, I thought one art historian called it correctly when he said the world will have only truly judged Freud in 100 or 200 years time.
It’s a shame that only when cryogenics allows for effective body freezing will artists be able to experience full appreciation of their work.
Until then, they will be condemned to grotty paint-flecked studios.
But, hold on, I gain the impression that those who are blessed with genius like Freud would not want it any other way.

Reasons to watch: A detailed biopic of a modern master
Reasons to avoid: A eulogy rather than balance

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Did you know? Lucien Freud was a gambler and would sometimes pay off his bookie, Alfie McLean, with paintings. When McLean died, he had a collection of around 23 works that had a valuation of around £100m.

The final word. David Bickerstaff: For Lucian Freud, the act of 'looking' was everything. This film is very much about the self, the progress of time and one man's intense struggle with the making of making art.' Art UK

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