Rivers and Tides

"Very Good"

Rivers and Tides Review


Andy Goldsworthy isn't the first artist to use the earth as the sole component of his installations, but he's probably the most dedicated. Goldsworthy stacks rocks into pillars, pins leaves and twigs together to make elaborate chains, and pulverizes stones to create pigments. On it's own, this isn't all that interesting, but when the rock stacks collapse, the leaves float away in a river, and the pigments dissolve into nothingness... well, you start to wonder why Goldsworthy makes art that almost always disappears within a day.

Documentarian filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer doesn't really have the answers to this question, since he never really asks Goldsworthy, who is nearly the only character to appear in the film, about his obsession with temporary things. Goldsworthy talks extensively about communing with nature, about his love for the sea and the rivers of the world, and about his feelings for various materials and locations. He even talks about attending "art college," but his true motives never really emerge.

Thankfully this is the only real failing in Rivers and Tides, and though it's a big one, you can easily lose yourself in Goldsworthy's absolutely gorgeous compositions. Stacks of wood change color in the sun -- captured beautifully by Riedelsheimer's time-lapse photography. The tide comes in and covers up a rock sculpture; plants grow up around another one, obscuring all but its tip. Some of these installations are more permanent than others -- the rock stacks seem impervious to time -- while others are gone in a second -- a ball of hand-tinted mud immediately disintegrates after making a brightly colored splash in a river.

Of course, Riedelsheimer is a teeny bit disingenuous about the lack of permanence in Goldsworthy's art -- photographs of his (now gone) works sell for tens of thousands of dollars. He also works on commissioned projects for museums, schools, and other institutions, obviously these are designed to be permanent in nature. Some of these commissions are captured in the film, and one in particular -- a tall and winding wall of rocks that must stretch for 300 yards -- is jaw-dropping in its elegance and scale. The other must-see moments involve when Goldsworthy's creations collapse before they're finished. One particularly troubled rock stack falls apart four times, and the expressions on Goldsworthy's face is priceless -- a look of mild frustration combined with massive acceptance and patience. He starts again every time, despite the fact that, in the end, all of his work will return to the earth.

Rivers and Tides is not a perfect documentary but it's probably the most beautiful film you'll see this year. Currently only being exhibited in San Francisco, don't be surprised if you see it arriving at your local arthouse before the fall.

If you missed the theatrical release, Rivers and Tides is now on DVD, which adds seven new short films about Goldsworthy (though largely covering the same ground), plus a bio of the artist.

A new special edition DVD adds a second disc, including an interview with the director and a new film about Goldsworthy's latest installation, involving snowballs in London called Snowballs in Summer.

Aka Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time.

Goldsworthy's squiggles.



Rivers and Tides

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 7th March 2002

Distributed by: New Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 70 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.