By one of these unique coincidences that makes you wonder, the European TV channel ARTE broadcast the German documentary 'Dennis Hopper: Create (or Die)' just three days before Dennis Hopper died. The film was made in 2003, so it misses the final years of Hopper, which is maybe not a bad thing as these years included personal dramas like his divorce and the fight with the malady that eventually defeated him. We are taken though the principal milestones of Hopper's biography, including his debut start in Hollywood, the meeting with James Dean and the influence he played upon him, his insubordination on sets and conflicts with the Hollywood directors which led to his black-listing, the years in New, the making of 'Easy Rider' (with an interesting connection of the ultimate road movie with the French new wave directors), 'Apocalypse Now', 'Blue Velvet', 'Colors', his fight with dependency on drugs and alcohol. We come to know Hopper as a complex artist, a valuable photographer who had always a camera on him and whose portraits or American life shots figure among the best in the genre, but also a rebel painter (who may still be rediscovered and become famous in posterity) and exquisite art collector. I found the Frankfurt actors class sequences to be extremely interesting, as they present the concept that stands behind Hopper's technique based over all on the truth of the artistic experience. If you would not die without creating, better go and do something else than being an artist - this is the message that he left to his students and fans.
You will be missed, Dennis Hopper. Easy Ride!
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