On the basis of “Leaning Into the Wind,” when it rains, the British artist Andy Goldsworthy immediately drops to the ground and lets the water outline his body. He describes two ways of approaching the world: “You can walk on the path, or you can walk through the hedge.” It’s almost a given that this documentary about his ephemeral, nature-based art will eventually show him trudging through a hedge, oblivious to or uninterested in the perfectly functional sidewalk next to it.
“Leaning Into the Wind” is a de facto sequel to “Rivers and Tides” (2003), by the same director, Thomas Riedelsheimer. Because time erases or alters Mr. Goldsworthy’s sculptures, movies are the ideal medium to capture them (although with the sequel, the switch from 35-millimeter film to digital cinematography has removed some of the artisanal quality).
The surprise of “Leaning Into the Wind” is that it’s just as concerned with how time has changed Mr. Goldsworthy. His grown daughter Holly now assists him with projects, including one in which they capture the hoof prints of sheep. Mr. Goldsworthy explains the evolution of his views on cities, and his desire to locate the nature beneath them. (Cut to San Francisco, with its wildly uneven sidewalks.)
The title comes from a kind of performance piece in which the artist leans into extremely high cliff winds and doesn’t fall. There’s no warning not to try this at home — which is regrettable, given how many viewers the movie seems poised to captivate with Mr. Goldsworthy’s worldview.
Director Thomas Riedelsheimer
Stars Andy Goldsworthy, Holly Goldsworthy
Running Time 1h 33m
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Last updated: Mar 9, 2018