Dir: Thomas Riedelsheimer | M/A/D | Music/Art/Design | Germany | 2017 | 92 mins
Tuesday, Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m. | Vancity Theatre
After 16 years, director Thomas Riedelsheimer once again teams up with artist Andy Goldsworthy to create Leaning Into the Wind. The pair first worked together on critically acclaimed documentary Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, which screened at VIFF in 2001.
Andy Goldsworthy, 61, is a Scotland-based landscape sculptor and photographer who is inspired by and collaborates with nature to create art. Time is a major theme running through Goldsworthy’s work: delicate ice structures melt, leaves float downriver, even rock can be worn down by water or wind. The film follows Goldsworthy over four years as he works on projects spanning Brazil to America to his Scottish home. The artist has, over the years, increasingly involved himself in his art, and the film is as much about how time has changed Goldsworthy himself as well as his art.
“You can walk on the path, or you can walk through the hedge,” Goldsworthy says, as he muses on how one can look at the world. Actually, Goldsworthy spends a large chunk of the film climbing through hedges. For a film with the potential to be ‘artsy’ and pretentious, it does not take itself too seriously. There are bursts of humour interspersed through the film, and I unexpectedly found myself laughing out loud at Goldsworthy’s zany methods.
But these are interspersed with poignant moments of sadness; as the early light leaks into a mountain landscape, Goldsworthy can’t bring himself to cut into the bedrock to create the piece he had planned. He apologizes to the videographer for getting him up for nothing. At other times, we are made to feel uncomfortable. Composer Fred Frith’s sometimes frantic rhythms create drama in natural landscapes, while in other scenes silence is punctuated only by the snapping of twigs as we watch a longer-than-comfortable sequence of Goldsworthy struggling through a thorny hedge.
Leaning Into the Wind is a beautiful work of cinema, a reminder of the power yet impermanence of nature.