Thomas Riedelsheimer's docu "Rivers and Tides" takes a beautifully lensed look at the work of Scottish "landscape sculptor" Andy Goldsworthy, whose unique creations are often as not simply swept away by the next tide or wind gust. Meditative tenor is apt to Goldsworthy's painstaking yet ephemeral work.

Thomas Riedelsheimer’s docu “Rivers and Tides” takes a beautifully lensed look at the work of Scottish “landscape sculptor” Andy Goldsworthy, whose unique creations — composed of icicles, leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. — are often as not simply swept away by the next tide or wind gust. Meditative tenor is apt to Goldsworthy’s painstaking yet ephemeral work. Still, casual viewers may think it all could have been captured just as well at subfeature length. Upscale arts tube programming slots rep the likeliest outlet for exposure.

Given the fragility of his (usually al fresco) sculptures, Goldsworthy benefits from this visual recording — indeed, his principal audience has come via coffee-table books of photographs. Considerably more is added by 35mm film, as real-time and time-lapse sequences capture the pieces’ delicate creation and gradual or sudden collapse. Artist himself is soft-spoken and affable, though his philosophical musings about nature aren’t especially interesting. Pic captures him working on projects at home as well as in North America and France. Climactic ones (a long, snaking forest fence, a slowly drying clay wall) are spectacular, and worth the wait through occasionally dull, repetitious prior stretches. Tech package is first-rate.

Rivers and Tides

Germany

Production

A Mediopolis and Skyline Prods. production in association with WDR/arte and YLE. Produced by Annedore v. Donop. Co-producers, Trevor Davies, Leslie Hills. Directed, edited by Thomas Riedelsheimer.

Crew

Camera (color), Riedelsheimer; music, Fred Frith. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, April 28, 2002. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

(English dialogue.)
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