BELLANY: A Life, Death and Resurrection

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Title: BELLANY: A Life, Death and Resurrection

Reference number: 7256

Date: 2002

Director: d. Peter Wolsey

Sponsor: Scottish Screen Lottery, SMG [Scottish Media Group]

Producer: Terry Wolsey, Peter Wolsey

Production company: Eyeline Media

Sound: sound

Original format: Digital Betacam

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 45.02 mins

Description: The life of Scottish artist John Bellany has been as his work – passionately expressed on a huge and complex canvas. This documentary film explores the events in his life and the way in which they have influenced his art.

Find out more about John Bellany, including an extensive biography, on his website at [last accessed 10/12/2019]

Catalogued from secondary sources apart from end credits which have been taken from viewing of the tape. This is possibly the edited version broadcast on STV - 'Artery' is written on original tape label.

Nominated for the Grierson Awards 2003. Premiered at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. An edited version was broadcast on STV in their ARTERY series.

Produced for the big screen, the film received its premiere at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh on the 8th November 2002, then toured cinemas with an accompanying exhibition of Bellany paintings.

Credits: narr. Sheena MacDonald
unit assistant Neil Martin
p. ass. Hazel Howalson, Karon Davis
principal music Allan Neave

musi Augustin Barrios Mangore - La Catedral
Allan Neave (guitar); accordion player Stewart Anderson; William James Kilpatrick "Will Your Anchor Hold" Rev Robert Glover (organ); Don Paterson The Lavender Truckn Allan Neave and Don Paterson (guitars); Gordon MacPherson Friends in Strange Places Allan Neave (guitar), Tim Williams (percussion); Peter Maxwell Davies Time and the Raven performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Gordon MacPherson Born of Funk and the Fear of Failing Allan Neave (guitar), Psappha; Don Paterson How to get up and get dressed Allan Neave (guitar); Kenny Dempster Fowling Allan Neave (guitar); Kenny Dempster Day of Rest Scottish Flute Trio; Johann Sebastian Bach Gigue from Lute Suite No. 1 Allan Neave (guitar); Augustin Barrrios Mangore Ultimo Tremolo Allan Neave (guitar); Soprano Silvia Dalla Benneta courtesy of Bertinin Art Net.

maskmaker Gail Riley

archive Buchenwald Images The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles CA
photographs Private collection Alexander Moffat; Belliniano portrait of Giovanni Bellini The Bridgeman Art Library; Poussin after Bellini "Feast of the Gods" National Galleries of Scotland; Pieter Bruegel "The Peasant Wedding Feast" Kunsthistriches Museum, Vienna; Hieronymus Bosch "The Last Judgement - Hell" Gemaldegalerie der Academie der bildenden Kunste, Vienna; Beckmann "Hell: Idealogues: Night" National Galleries of Scotland; Family photographs private collection John and Helen Bellany; Hugh MacDiarmid "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle" Courtesy of Claddagh Records Ltd.

with thanks to Comunale de Barga, Michael Biagi, Chalmers Memorial Church, Interactive Tayside, National Galleries of Scotland, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, William Lamb Studio, Angus Council Cultural Services, The Open Eye Gallery

Shotlist: The life of Scottish artist John Bellany has been as his work – passionately expressed on a huge and complex canvas. This documentary film explores the events in his life and the way in which they have influenced his art from depictions of the fishing community of Port Seton in which he was raised; the dark days as he struggled with deeply internal questions, family tragedy and near death; to his joy at being granted a second chance. Personal experience has informed and illuminated his work in an astonishingly honest way and has helped create paintings that range from the mysteriously dark and brooding, to expressions of pure happiness.

“Art’s about beauty and comforting and restoring people - as well as shocking them” John Bellany

Bellany – A Life, Death and Resurrection is a 45 minute arts documentary exploring the life and work of the extraordinary Scots painter, John Bellany, produced by Eyeline Media and part funded by Scottish Screen. Bellany is acknowledged as Scotland's foremost figurative artist - his portrayal of the hardship and suffering of the small fishing community in which he was raised, his loss of faith after a visit to the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, his battle with alcoholism and the suicide of his second wife, are all expressed through painting. The return of the love of his life, whom he has married twice; and a successful liver transplant, after a prolonged period when he believed he was dying, have provided him with a ‘second chance’, one that he fully appreciates. Work that was previously dark and foreboding, now celebrates joy and love through the liberal use of intense colour. Bellany and his wife Helen now have a home in Italy, where much of the film is shot, and where he finds daily inspiration. And yet he retains deep roots in Scotland, the landscape and the people continuing to influence his work. The film achieves an extraordinary level of intimacy, Bellany’s honesty and ability to communicate directly with the audience is both powerful and compelling. Bellany is a fascinating man, who has led an extraordinary life, painting all his experiences, whether shocking, traumatic or joyful. The film allows the audience the opportunity to connect with the man and his painting, his ‘joie de vivre’ communicating far beyond the screen.

[Summary from Eyeline Media]