The environmental documentary Rivers and Tides moved me in unexpected ways, calming and relaxing me at times while also provoking much thought and excitement in my brain.
Watching it at a movie discussion I held today was not unlike watching the tide coming in, relaxing in its regularity and predictable behavior yet making irregularities all the more fascinating and engrossing.
The movie, which won awards, is about sculptor Andy Goldsworthy who makes art out of environmental objects ranging from icicles and rocks to branches and clay.
Most of his work shown in this movie is temporary in nature, disappearing as the tide literally comes in. We feel his frustration when a project goes awry and satisfaction when it looks complete.
And then it washes away or falls apart.
I went into this movie with low expectations, expecting to see something like March of the Penguins minus the march or the penguins.
Instead I left the viewing thinking new questions about art.
Is a pile of rocks or twigs art if it is done in an artistic way? What about when it is damaged and destroyed by the tides – does it stop being art then? Does art need to have some type of permanence?
Or is it all one step removed and the art is not the work he does but the photographs or – in this case – the movie’s capture of the art, giving the work a chance to last long after the tide has come and gone?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, or if there are even “right” answers to them.
But I do know this: Rivers and Tides is a visual feast that will expose you to new ideas and art unlike anything you have seen before
Enjoy the trip.