Critics' Pick

Leaning Into The Wind (PG)

Documentary 93 min. March 9, 2018
By Alan Scherstuhl
The art of Andy Goldsworthy is not about the complex systems of the natural world. Instead, it's in collaboration with them. Goldsworthy's projects -- in the woods of Scotland, the streets of Edinburgh, the cliffs of Gabon -- often flow from those systems and then are destroyed by them. Witness him layering gold-yellow leaves he's gathered across the faces of black rocks on a hillside, only to see the wind tear his work away before he's finished. Watch him create his Rain Shadows: He lies flat on his back on an outcrop or sidewalk as the rain or snow starts, and then stands some moments later, leaving behind a patch of dry silhouette. The work lasts for a breath.

In the first scene of Leaning Into the Wind, the follow-up to 2001's Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, Goldsworthy, now 60, beholds a shaft of sunlight beaming down through the ceiling of an abandoned stone house in Brazil's Ibitipoca Reserve. He scoops dust from the earthen floor and tosses it into the light. It billows and clouds. Director Thomas Riedelsheimer then employs a four-way split screen, showing Goldsworthy's zeal to discover every interesting interaction he could have with the light. It's art but also play -- even dance.

Like Rivers and Tides, also directed by Riedelsheimer, Leaning Into the Wind is a study in seeing, in subordinating one's self to the elements, in creating with nature rather than from it. The film ranges more widely than its predecessor, surveying more landscapes and a greater variety of projects. But it's still a contemplative beauty, a chance to consider and be moved by a richer sort of connectedness than our lives typically allow.
Thomas Riedelsheimer Andy Goldsworthy Magnolia Pictures

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