Rivers and Tides | documentary 4 of 100

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about art after 7 years of going to Burning Man, it’s that the process of creating art is far more interesting than the product that gets created. To say this another way: going to a museum to look at art is a little like going to a zoo to look at animals.

In Rivers and Tides, Thomas Riedelsheimer shows us art in the wild. Literally. Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy creates sculptures from objects he finds in their natural environment – everything from chunks of ice to stones to tree branches. And the results are absolutely striking to look at – for a little while. Until the tide covers it. Until it melts. Or until it collapses from the weight of one too many stones.

The cinematography in this film is as beautiful as the art itself. It’s like Reidelsheimer is undressing the art with his camera. He makes frequent use of a crane to glide into, over and around the art. Much of the film was made in rugged outdoor conditions – for example, the middle of frosty fields and muddy rivers. So packing a crane around can’t have been easy.

I’ve never seen a crane in action, but watching the slow, fluid movements a crane makes possible makes we want to try it. I did some Googling and found that you can buy a decent camera crane for around $1,500. But then you should probably add a field monitor, and a way to control the focus and on and on. Plus you’d have to assemble the thing, take it down after after every shoot, etc. It’s a commitment.

Filmmaker takeaway: You can bring a subject to life by approaching it with your camera like a patient lover.

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