Jake Auerbach: Lucian Freud Portraits

The film is made together with Freud’s biographer Willam Feaver, who voice-off introduces the method of the film up-front: We will go to the people he has portrayed to get an idea of who this genius artist is – the film was made in 2004, Freud died in 2011. And what you get as a viewer is a wonderful range of talking faces, who remember how it was to sit for Freud. And to sit for Freud was ”a hell of a commitment” as one of the models say, for hours and over a period of months or a year. ”You were never allowed to see the progress”, says another, but you were treated well by the painter while in his studio.

The models (aristocrats, publicly known characters, women, many women, his daughters (some of them…), grandchildren) talk about him and about the experience to be painted, they are given time, and you are invited to watch the paintings, also there you are given time. The paintings, the interpretations that Freud made of faces, nude bodies on a couch, or new versions of known paintings by Watteau or Cézanne. It is entertaining and you get a sense of an artist who is giving all of himself in his self-portraits. A charismatic man, dishy, as one model says, and a man who in his old age started to care about his family. A tremendous gambler, a man who could catch the ”subtle differences” in a face, as says colleague David Hockney, who sat for him as well.

Watched it on the SVT art documentary slot K-Special. Available through Amazon or hire it for 7 days via the producer, see below. An article by Feaver in Guardian is also linked.

UK, 52 mins., 2004



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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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