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4.6 out of 5 stars
Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers & Tides - Working With [Blu-ray]
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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2005
This serene portrait, of the art and philosophy of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, invites viewers to consider their current relationship to the evolving natural world around us. Mr. Goldsworthy has a deep need for communing with the natural landscape and seeks to rearrange rocks, ice, wood, snow, leaves, vines, flowers, moss, straw and clay in order to "touch the heart of the place". Indeed, the birth of a particular sculpture is often part of an active natural process that is taking place at each location: "The very thing that brings the work to life, is the thing that will have a hand in its death or dissolution".

Andy Goldsworthy's works generally have the quality of being ephemeral and are primarily created within remote natural settings. Therefore the artist's own efforts to document the short life of each work, through photography, have historically been the way that these works come to be seen by the public in a gallery or museum setting. With "Rivers and Tides", director Thomas Riedelsheimer assumes this task of visual documentation. The subtitle of the documentary, "Working With Time", explores how the effects of the rising and falling of the ocean's tides, the flow of water in rivers and streams, plant growth through the seasons and even the movement of farm animals, all influence and interact with the artist's work. The documentary medium of video now makes this fascinating study of time possible.

A wide range of Andy Goldsworthy's completed works are filmed, many being created specifically for this program. The work was made throughout a number of different cycles of the seasons and in at least four major locations: Nova Scotia, Canada; Penpont, Scotland; Storm King, New York and Digne, France. The ninety-minute documentary presents Mr. Goldsworthy as the sole narrator of his creative process. The artist is shown scouting locations, gathering materials and using mostly his own hands to create works featuring incredible juxtapositions of physical form and color.

Composer and musician Fred Frith provides subtle sonic accents to this visual focus at interesting occasions within an otherwise partly silent journey. Frith's haunting score is thoroughly integrated with the visual beauty and almost fanatical range of perspective in Mr. Riedelsheimer's documentary cinematography.

"Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides" can be recommended, with confidence, to those with an interest in a holistic approach to contemporary art.
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful
For those who are not familiar with Andy Goldsworthy's work, he creates sculptures from nature, using rocks and tree branches and grass and anything else around the location he has chosen. He has decided specifically to create scultpures that will only stand temporarily, as he searches for a better understanding of life, death, and the passage of time. This film does a fantastic job of exploring the creative process and amazing things that can happen when an artist continues to experiment and look for new opportunities. Through this discovery, Goldsworthy passes on to us his philosophy and unique perspective on the world. It is truly a visually beautiful film and worth watching on that merit alone. For those of us who are artists, it is a must-see, both to learn and identify with someone who has a beautiful understanding of the world.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2004
I became enamoured of Andy Goldsworthy the first time I saw his book "Collaborations with Nature" -- here is an artist who works with nature, seeing possibilities in colors and compositions that, instead of reinventing what nature created, instead simply rearranges it in a way that deepens and enhances our understanding of the world, and of ourselves.

I had heard about "Rivers and Tides" and waited a long time to see it at a local art theater... and found that the man himself is as calm, as philosophical, and as elegant as the work he creates. In a peaceful and graceful documentary, allowing us the time we need to really absorb the beauty of his creations, Thomas Riedelsheimer has filmed his process and his thoughts as respectfully as the completed work. The soundtrack is exquisite and perfect as well.

Since buying the DVD just a week ago, I have watched it four times. Seeing him at the edge of the low tide in a cold grey sea patiently stacking rock upon rock, speaking in his quiet voice about the process of connecting with the stone, and then watching as the finished piece stands strong and solid against the incoming tide that devours it inch by inch -- wondering what the sea will do with this gift -- and then at the first blush of dawn, watching the tide ease out again, revealing the monolith, intact and serene -- this is magic at its purest.

Andy Goldsworthy is not like any other artist I have encountered. He is a simple man, living in a village in Scotland, who sees the connection between trees and earth, between sheep and the fields they graze, and between water in all its forms and the surfaces it moves across. He shows us how to see new possibilities, and how to have the patience to work with what we find. He shares his process with us in an intimate way, and I feel blessed to have this glimpse into this place where man dances with nature. It is simple, it is complex, it is profound, and it moves me and inspires me each time I watch it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Andy Goldsworthy is well-known in certain art circles. Hopefully, he'll become better known because of this film. The biggest issue is the transient nature of his art, which is all based on transforming -- and often enhancing -- nature. His art intentionally has a temporary life, and this film captures its ephemeral and stunningly beautiful nature. Because of the work's nature, it can't be displayed in museums, and so this movie will have to suffice.

If you've had a bad day at the office, and have been told that you need to learn to meditate to unstress, this movie is for you. It draws you in to the relaxed pace of Goldsworthy's work, and after only a few minutes, you'll completely be able to forget everything else going on in your life and focus on the beauty of Goldsworthy's work.

Even if you're not an art lover, it's impossible not to be drawn into the beauty of this work. The photography is stunningly beautiful, and this film is structured in such a way that you enter the artist's mind and understand how he is able to create such beauty.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2006
I originally saw this movie on the big screen, and was so inspired by it that I decided I would buy it when it came out on DVD. I was extremely disappointed to see that my favorite scene, the icicle sculpture at the beginning of the film, was ruined because the producers of the DVD did not use letterbox format!!! The final shot of the sculpture was SO AWESOME!! This film is much better on the big screen. I do agree that the film gets frustrating when it spends time on the artist instead of on his art, but I really liked watching the artist at work when things are NOT working out as much as seeing successful pieces. It really gives me an appreciation of the full creative process to see the failures as well as the successes, and I recommend this film for that aspect.

For those people who are disappointed by the film - try to see it on the big screen if it shows up in a film festival.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2004
Not only is it beautiful and moving, it's wonderfully hypnotic. Andy Goldsworthy and the Director Thomas Riedelsheimer take you on a incredibly memorable journey and help reconnect you to the beauty (and philosphy) of being at one with nature.

The DVD also contains over 40 minutes of equally stunning bonus materials that were not part of the original feature film and have never-been-seen-before.

This majestic film/DVD ranks as my #1 all-time favorite DVD. Get it! You will not be dissapointed.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I am not an artist. My work is scientific and detailed but this DVD simply shook me to my soul. I love nature in all of its forms and have fancied myself a good nature photographer. Andy Goldsworthy shattered my tired and derivative views of natural beauty. His use of found materials is so inventive and soulful that when I saw one of them I started laughing from a joy that lifted me above the earth and all of my terestrial cares. Andy's artistic vision evokes every human emotion to those who can see. The experience of his art is transcendental. It takes patience to watch his suffering but in the end one is rewarded with an abundance of the vital nectar with which only the gifted can nourish the rest of us. I would say that from a Buddhist viewpoint his work emanates, with clarity and insight, the four immeasurables of loving kindness, joy, compassion, and equanimity.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2005
If you get a chance to see this film on a big screen, do it. But home viewing is great too. I also enjoy Goldsworthy's books... but it's particularly fun to watch the film and get a fuller sense of the process of construction (and sometimes destruction) of each work of nature-art.

Tip: play the DVD during a party with the TV on mute, and accompany with good music.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2004
When Rivers and Tides was in a local theatre, I rushed to see it because I have long been a fan of Goldsworthy. The experience was a totally new way of seeing his work. The video images are even better than his photographs. In some ways, the dynamic imagery even exceeds the experience of visiting one of his installations. The interviews with him as he works are delightful gems of insight into his artistic approach. If you like his books and installations, you will love this video.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2005
Both Goldsworthy and his film maker "meshed" in making this superb documentary that is among the finest films on the life and work of an artist. It stands as "sui generis," unlike any other biography or cinematic treatment in the genre, "the life and art of......."

Viewers will be taken with the patient, methodical cinematography that lets Goldsworthy, his work and the environments in which he is involved unfold organically. Director Reidelsheimer lets his camera linger lovingly throughout the 90 minute feature, resulting in our immersion in the man, his art and surroundings. We are a bit shocked when we see the credits role.

The color range is often muted and elegant - even precise, contributing to the poetry inherent in Goldsworthy's work.

Finally, it is Goldsworthy himself that we embrace. What a joy to "befriend" an artist who is completely free of the elitist and egotistical baggage that too many contemporary artists carry, not to mention the refreshing absence of art world jargon. He is warm, self-critical, humble, and a learner - transparently open to experiencing the natural world on its terms. And it shows in his beautiful, sometimes transitory, work.

Many have wondered if sculpture had become irrelevant, bypassed by installation projects. Goldsworthy, in his fusion of natural processes, the forms they suggest to him, and his sense of where they belong, has given us the gift of a memorable encounter in time and place. He truly has taken the sculpture to another level. Ultimately, his cairns, icicle assembies, flower-petal pools and ruddy water falls abide in our consciousness, provoking the same imperative that Rilke realized when he contemplated a marble male torso that had survived from the Hellenistic era: You (we) must change your (our) life!

If there is just one film on contemporary art you were permitted see in a year's time, this is it.
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