Film: 9241

Art + Architecture | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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The artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992).

Throughout this film Francis Bacon is interviewed in his studio. Relevant paintings are shown as he talks. Bacon gives indepth and detailed explanations of his paintings and the ideas and influences behind them.

Opening shots of a gallery. The camera first rests on the gallery floor, where there is a wooden packing crate which holds a painting. Continues to pan around the room revealing numerous Bacon paintings and two empty frames propped up against the wall. Moves round to show five/six more packing crates yet to be opened, standing against a wall. Interview begins with Bacon over these images. Long shot showing gallery assistant, in uniform, sitting in a low chair next to three/ four packing crates stacked against the wall. Cut to a close-up shot of part of a painting, the face of a pope, the shot pans out to include two workmen carrying them hanging the painting on the wall. Close-up shot, panning out, to show three sections of a triptych, three studies of the same man, (possibly Lucien Freud), sitting on a red chair. The camera continues panning around the room and shows more paintings stacked against the wall, a uniformed gallery assistant sitting among them. Cut to three still shots of three studies of a woman's face, (possibly Muriel Belcher). Cut to film of Francis Bacon being interviewed, as he talks about portraiture. A close-up shot, Bacon's head and shoulders filling the screen, he is wearing a mauve stripy shirt and black tie. The camera pans out to reveal his studio; paint splattered on the wall behind, a huge mound of dirty rags, tubes of paint and plates, used as palettes, sit on a table on the left of the screen behind Bacon. On the right of the screen on a shelf/bookcase stand several old tins holding numerous paintbrushes. Cut to two still shots of two different, head and shoulder, portraits as Bacon continues discussing them, returns to shot of him in studio.

Throughout the interview Bacon mainly looks at the interviewer; behind the left side of the screen, or at the floor. Another shot of a similar portrait. The film then returns to the studio as Bacon answers interviewers question, he quickly glances at the camera before again looking at the floor. Narrative reference to the violent appearence of some of his portraits. Several close-up, panned shots, of a large Bacon painting. The camera rests on three areas of the painting, two showing small meat carcasses in the foreground, a man, opened mouthed with teeth showing and the shadow from an umbrella covering half of his face, sitting just behind. The camera pans up, then out, to reveal the whole painting (Painting,1946); including a huge crucified meat carcass hanging in the background. Cut to a full shot of a very similar painting, painted in a neater style and with a yellow background. Several still shots of three of Bacon's Pope paintings. Still shot of Velazquez's painting of Pope Innocent X,1650 which inspired them. Narrative from Bacon throughout. Cut to a shot of the black and white photograph of the nurse taken from Sergei Eisenstein's film Battleship Potemkin,1925. Film moves to a painted portrait of a pope, Study after Velasquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X,1953, who sits in a gold chair, wearing purple and white robes, screaming in the same way as the nurse. Cut to a panned shot, from top to bottom, of a red, pink and white painting, which appears to show a screaming carcass with teeth. Cut to a panned shot, from top to bottom, of a red, pink and white painting, Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962(right hand panel), which appears to show a screaming carcass with teeth. Return to film of Bacon sitting in his studio.

Continued explanation of the ideas behind these paintings, including his fascination with wounds and diseased wounds. Comparison between these type of images and Monet's landscapes. Three close-up panned shots and a full shot of a painting showing a crucified carcass. Cut to two full shots of two paintings, Diptych:Crucifixion, 1965, also based on the idea of crucifixion; the first painting includes a female nude in the foreground, the second has two men wearing straw hats, standing at a table/bar also in the background. Return to Bacon in studio. Several panned then full shots of two paintings showing the female nude on a bed (possibly Henrietta Moraes). Several still then close-up shots of a painting, Triptych:Studies of the Human Body,1970, each has a female nude on an arched platform, all have a large expanse of pink background. The figure in the central panel has a black umbrella shape behind her head. Return to Bacon in studio, narrative reference to the photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge and his influence on him. Still shot of Muybridges' black and white photograpic work; Studies for the Human Figure in Motion,1887,(continuous, still images of movement), six images of a female nude walking on her hands and feet, close-up on one shot. Cut to a close-up shot of a Bacon painting, Paralytic Child Walking on all Fours (From Muybridge),1961, a white figure, walking on all fours, with a black ground. Cut to a full shot which includes a window frame on the right of painting. Return to studio discussing the depiction of movement in his painting. Cut to three full, then close-up shots of a triptych, each of the same man who is sitting on a chair, inside a wire frame, wearing a white shirt and brown/beige trousers (possibly Lucien Freud), the background of the painting is yellow. Return to Bacon in his studio where he discusses movement in Futurist painting and in Marcel Duchamp's painting; Nude Desending a Staircase. Full shot of this image. Return to Bacon, a close-up shot of his face, camera follows his face as he moves backwards and forwards. He discusses prehistoric images from northern Spain. Three still and panned shots of three cave paintings. Includes two linear paintings of almost stick men, one of archers the other of a man collecting honey on a long ladder with bees around him. Continues discussing various aspects of his work. Various close-up shots of five different portrait paintings. Return to close-up then longer shot of Bacon in his studio. Still full shot of a painting; two men sitting on a hard seat/sofa with a curtain behind and a table with ashtray on infront.

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