The controversial story of the artist Christo's grand-scale environmental art project in Japan and California that ended in the tragic death of two of its spectators. At its world premiere ... See full summary »
The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.
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
The film starts out really good. It reminds of of an old Maysles bros film. It has the unassuming over the shoulder shots as we see Christo and Jean-Claude trying to get their art in Central Park. We see the behind the scenes politics that goes into one of these things. Seeing the controversy and how the Park members react to decorating the park is very fascinating. Unfortunately, the project did not go through in the 80's. If it did, we might have had a good documentary.
Instead, we are treated to a very banal 60 or so other minutes of the film. Most of the time is spent talking to people on the streets. They try to do a three act kind of thing by showing people against the gates and a few little problems during the implementation of the project. The whole thing takes on a kind of reality show feel.
When the gates finally get up, we only get positive views from the NY inhabitants. And, we get many shots of the gates. It seems like some of the same shots are done over again. Suddenly the gates (which used to seem flowery and easy) take on a banal quality. All we see is orange over and over. Its kind of looking at trees in a forest for 90 minutes. After a while, it all starts to look the same.
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