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This is the story of the quest of the artist Christo to wrap the famous Pont Neuf in France in fabric. It took Christo and his wife ten years to get permission from the Parisian government, and the project created a storm of dialogue throughout Paris. Written by
Martin Lewison <MLewison@utk.edu>
I got an opportunity to catch this unusual and totally objective documentary on a man named Christo, an artist, who's life's obsession has been to wrap things. That does not mean he wraps up small things, however. He uses the outside world, in many acres of space, to accommodate his sprawling use of wrapping around natural and man-made locations. Here, he sets his sights on a bridge-area in Paris, which he finds is met with some skepticism by those in charge. But he presses forward, and we get a look into how this process is done, both with the politics of it, and with the actual artistry (if that's what it can be called) and work put into a public display such as what ends up as this.
I'm not sure if I may be one of only a dozen people in this entire country that have heard of this movie let alone seen it - it was screened in a class I had at my university (the professor being a friend of Albert Maysles had a VHS copy, though all the Christo doc's are on DVD now). But it's literally like nothing else you will ever see, or perhaps want to see. How much you like the film may or may not depend on how much you can tolerate the oddness that is in the subject of the piece, who is an occasionally eccentric, formidable presence. What is solid is the film-making- Albert Maysles watches these events, abandoning special and flashy techniques that are now all there is on the "documentary" landscape of Reality-TV. His work on the film is worth it alone, even if you find Christo too weird or unique for your taste. But one thing is for certain, that I will never look at another film about wrapping the same way again.
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