Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time
Interlaced leaves float down a river to nowhere, the image of a coiling river reappears in the form of a melting icicle spider web, lambs’ wool decorates a stone wall circumscribing a barren heath. Not exactly stuff you can exhibit in a gallery, and so Thomas Riedelsheimer’s gorgeous film about environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy is an essential document detailing an aesthetic entirely about the process of its creation and designed decay. Goldsworthy is a charming 40ish Scot who narrates as he works in the hills, rivers, and oceans near his Highland home. He throws in occasional one-liners that break the occasional near-New Age mood. But as movies operate in the same unforgiving temporal parameters as Goldsworthy’s art, sometimes Riedelsheimer’s editing can’t always keep up with his subject’s ephemeral flow. But when it does work, it’s like a fine-art thriller—what other movie elicits audience gasps when some painstakingly assembled driftwood crumbles like a heartbreaking fallen soufflé?