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In February, 2005, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude installed 7,500 arches (gates), curtained with orange cloth that waved and billowed and decked miles of walkways in Central Park. The gates stood for 16 days, the first unfurled by Mayor Bloomberg, who championed the project, giving it the okay after the artists' 25-year quest to gain approval. Archival footage shows pro-and-con debates and various mayors and commissions turning down the project. By the end, the gates installed, the camera travels a winter landscape, orange shining through trees and reflected in ponds. Passers-by, quintessential New Yorkers, express pleasure. Art dwarfs the nay-sayers. Written by
As a great documentary in and of itself, but also as a great new york city-movie, showcasing NYC's bureaucratic madness during the planning stage, but also its incredible diversity, and how it was the only real city where a project like this COULD happen and resonate quite like it does.
Its also a great 'artiste' movie, in both the role of the artist and the dogged determination required to fulfill your passions, as Christo and his wife Jean-Claude worked since 1979 on this, but also the role of art, at least on a grand scale, in todays world...maybe more than anything, The Gates really shows the irrationality of haters and naysayers in the face of art...some of the negative arguments and reactions to the project in hindsight appear moronic and embarrassing, and Mayor Bloomberg should be commended for finally giving the go-ahead and making this possible.
And visually, once the gates are up, with all the reactions of the people against that winter backdrop, the film truly becomes transcendent, and becomes a stunningly beautiful and touching work of art itself.
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