Which Way Up with John McLean (#)

John McClean in his studio

A film that takes inside the studio of one of Britain's foremost abstract painters, John McLean, after his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.

A documentary about an elderly artist with an incurable, degenerative disease could easily have been a depressing prospect, but Which Way Up is a life-enhancing journey with a man full of curiosity, enthusiasm, work ethic and joy in being alive.

John McLean has paintings in some of the world’s great public collections, including Tate, the Scottish National Gallery and the Yale Centre for British Art in America. Yet in in 2014, McLean was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Although this has left him severely disabled, his energy to paint continues.

We follow McLean making art day-today, making detailed decisions about colour and shape that contribute to his stunning work. McLean’s wry Scottish humour is never far away from his compulsion to make paintings, but his down-to-earth approach allows us the rare privilege of eavesdropping on that most private of spaces: the artist’s studio.

UK 2017 Dir Michael Proudfoot 78 min

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