VOD film review: Leaning Into the Wind
James R | On 10, Aug 2018
Director: Thomas Riedelsheimer
Cast: Andy Goldsworthy
Watch Leaning Into the Wind online in the UK: All 4 / Curzon Home Cinema / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play / CHILI
After That Summer gave us that rare thing – a documentary prequel (to Grey Gardens), 2018 now brings us another unusual offering: a documentary sequel. Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy is a follow-up to 2001 film Rivers and Tides, and follows the artist as he continues his work blending landscapes, cities and himself.
The Scottish photographer and sculptor, now in his 60s, was awarded an OBE back in 2000. 18 years later and the artist continues to explore the world around him to craft instalments both towering and temporary, capable of transcending the boundary between the urban and the natural, or of being as transient as life in each. Thomas Riedelsheimer’s familiarity with the man and the art brings an engaging intimacy to their reunion; the project, in itself, becomes a piece of performance art, making Andy’s more ephemeral creations permanent by recording them on film.
The cinematography beautifully captures his kaleidoscopic, idiosyncratic vision, which is unleashed everywhere from Scotland to Brazil and the USA. He’s equally at home herding sheep, moving boulders or, in one particularly cute sequence, taking flowers and leaves and effectively wallpapering his surroundings with them. Riedelsheimer shuns any talking heads or even direct interviews with the man himself, which adds to the meditative mood: this is a portrait of an artist through process, not through words. Even when that process involves climbing trees.
When those words do come, they don’t always give you the insight you want into his motivations, which is a slight disappointment; his funding and the organisational work required to bring about such curious creations would be a source of added fascination. Nonetheless, there’s a playful element that occasionally shines through – a shot of him climbing out of a hedge on a busy high street (choosing the path less well-trod) is surreally amusing. At a time when the natural world is so taken for granted by government officials and energy companies, that sense of constant imagination and inspiration is a quietly striking reminder of humanity’s proximity to nature and the magic that can be found in our environment.
Leaning Into the Wind is available on All 4 until 31st July 2021.