Rivers and Tides

Rivers and Tides (2001) movie poster

(2001) dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer
viewed: 05/26/03 at The Red Vic Movie House, SF, CA

This is yet further testament to how behind I have fallen in my little film diary/journal thing. No time to catch up and so some pretty interesting films, like this one, will get short shrift, I am afraid.

I had missed this film when it had been through town last year or whenever it came through. It sounded really interesting, focusing on the work of Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy, who creates his art installations out mostly in “nature”, using only found objects, often even highly perishible ones to build his varying creations.

Goldsworthy’s personal words on the subject certainly attest to his passion for nature and his connections to the Earth. While this was a little new-agey in spoken form, the visual presentation of him creating his work and his work itself truly have a transcendent aspect of this sensibility, one that is very profound and at times even stunning.

This film works well as a document to his process, especially since his work is largely ephemeral and constructed in such isolated spots that the experience is less one of exhibition and seemingly more personal. He documents his work with photography for historical and cataloguing reasons.

One thing that I liked about his work (I was mostly unfamiliar with him before reading a review of this film about a year or so ago), was the way that it has a sort of organic feeling of inspiration, building things the way that people do with sticks and mud or stones, like daisy chains or other such things that people/kids do when they are out on the beach or in the woods. So, there is something very natural about the process and not just the materials and forms.

Definitely worth seeing, if you are curious. We saw this film as part of the Monday Night Movie Club at the small Red Vic Theater in the Haight. It was Memorial Day Monday, at the end of a warm and pleasant three-day weekend, sun still out… Shockingly, there was a line almost around the block and the film was sold out! Only in SF (and more likely only at a theater as small as The Red Vic) could a documentary about an obscure artist would be a blockbuster.

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