So last night I went to the San Francisco International Film Festival and saw two films: "The Subconscious Art of Graphitti Removal" -- a brilliant short film that expouses the notion that the government workers paid to clean the city streets of Portland, Oregon (where the film was made) are the creators of the next stage of fine art -- and "Rivers and Tides" a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy -- an artist who makes art out of nature. This film is incredible. Rather, I should say, Goldsworth is incredible. His work is unbelievably beautiful and this film manages to capture several things: the patience required in the character of it's creator, the respect he has for nature and time, and the sheer wonder of what he creates. Here is a person who just sees something different when he steps into the wilderness. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like the work he creates.

For all intents and purposes the film is narrated by him, and his quiet scottish accent gently explains the depth of his admiration for the environments in which he works. Here are a couple of images from his previous works:


The film captures also the nature of the destruction of his work. Working usually only with what he finds in the area of something he creates, the materials are often destroyed shortly after he finishes. When he makes a line of leaves or a sculpture of ice, he takes a photo and then watches as they are blown away or it melts. The title, "Rivers and Tides" makes reference to the awe he feels at the power of water. It tends to shape everything he does and the cycles of it are the force behind many of his ideas. When it's not water, it's stone, which he views as just another type of object that has it's own cycles, often defined by the passage of time and water.

I don't know if you'll have the opportunity to see this film as it's very independent right now and not in any theatres here (it played twice at the film festival and that's it). I found a clip from another film about him that's worth watching. It's pretty big (17MB) but it's worth the download. From what I can tell though it's not nearly as well filmed as "Rivers and Tides."

One other thing, the music, which was perfect, was all done by Fred Frith...