Love and Death on Long Island
Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Length: 46 Minutes
Release Date: February 19, 2002
it a legitimate complaint to say that the documentary Love and Death on Long
Island didn’t bring me any closer to legendary American artist Jackson
Pollock? Maybe not.
After all, not even Ed Harris’ terrific film Pollock could
achieve that. Pollock was a
brooding, distant, self-absorbed fellow, so much so that I don’t think if I
could have lived next door to him for a while that I’d have gotten any closer
to the man.
are left, therefore, with impressions of his life as spotted and sketchy as one
of his famed paintings. Life magazine
once posed the question: was he the
greatest living American artist? There
are still answers being shouted back to that simple question many decades
later—some positive, some negative—but few could argue that Pollock at least
got people talking about art in 20th century America more than any of
his contemporaries did.
of the treats of this film include footage of Pollock, both painting and
relaxing (as much as he could relax). Somber
and sullen, often with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, his mannerism
expressed the genius that his brushes proclaimed.
There is also an old clip of his wife Lee Krasner, a reading from the
police report made after his fatal car accident, and of course, plenty of
paintings to look at.
none of it really brings us any closer to Pollock, the man, even if it lends a
bit of appreciation to Pollock, the artist.
He remains a distant and enigmatic figure, which makes the documentary,
though well-crafted, a bit of a disappointment.
in art, you have to step back in order to appreciate the total effect.
Love and Death tries to get us in for a closer look, but
unfortunately, the drips and splotches of Pollock’s life don’t seem to spell
out much under scrutiny.
is a quality full frame presentation from HVe, which combines recent and older
footage confidently. Colors are
generally very good, and Pollock’s paintings all look terrific in full digital
glory. Older stretches of film show
a bit more aging effects, but that’s to be expected. Overall, there are no complaints.
simple audio mix is serviceable, making no demands on your system since the
program is entirely dialogue oriented. All
words come across cleanly and clearly with no distracting noise…there’s not
much else to speak about.