Leaning Into the Wind
In 2001, German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer directed Rivers and Tides, an award-winning documentary delving into the nature-based sculptures created by British artist Andy Goldsworthy. Almost two decades later the director returns with the follow-up film Leaning Into The Wind – Andy Goldsworthy to once again explore the sculptor’s use of nature as part of his canvas.
The titular artist sources his materials directly from the natural world. He applies vibrant and striking greens and yellows from tree leaves and respectfully manipulates stone and trees to produce both permanent and temporal pieces. The feature begins to glow when Riedelsheimer subtly extracts his subject’s endlessly fascinating philosophy on art. Much of what he creates is impermanent, with the plants he works with changing over time or degrading. Goldsworthy addresses themes like death, memories and time with his work, and the film brilliantly highlights this.
Unfolding at a leisurely pace, this is a surprisingly sparse, but mesmerising and captivating documentary. There’s a lot going on under the surface, but it’s not filled with incessant narration, dialogue with other artists or frantically edited scenes. A lot of the film’s appeal stems from how relaxing it is to watch. It’s a beautiful portrait of the English countryside, with calming shots of rivers, wind-beaten paths and gorgeous forests. The frame eventually expands to English urban landscapes as well as Gambian and Brazilian jungles. Plus, it helps that the subject is wonderfully softly spoken and well-enunciated.
Goldsworthy has a childlike passion and approach towards nature and art. He’s a very physical and immersive creative, often literally putting himself in his work. He climbs into trees, makes silhouettes with his body and treads through hedges for his own gratification. It speaks to the understated confidence and ambition that emanates from the artist throughout the documentary; he makes art on his own terms in a bold, but not narcissistic manner.
Occasionally Leaning Into The Wind does get repetitive and might have benefitted from Riedelsheimer condensing the feature. But it still is a remarkable portrayal of a passionate artist, which properly demonstrates Goldsworthy’s intricate understanding of natural beauty as well as the subtleties of his aesthetic approach.
Leaning Into the Wind is released nationwide on 10th August 2018.
Watch the trailer for Leaning Into the Wind here: