A loving look at a 100-year-old Ojai potter-painter should give plenty of hope to those whose lust for life may have faded, joy to those who enjoy a good companion. Sensitively filmed, handsomely lit and expertly edited, the ode to Beatrice Wood shimmers in beauty.
Living in Paris after attending finishing school in New York in the 1910s, N.Y.-born Wood had romances in the city with writer-diplomat Henri-Pierre Roche, author of “Jules et Jim,” and, in 1915, when Dadaism started, with one of its fomenters, artist Marcel Duchamp of “Nude Descending a Staircase” celebrity. Wood tells little about the man Duchamp, less about associate Francis Picabia, nothing about Man Ray, also an N.Y Dadaist.
She does describe meeting artists at the salons of Walter and Louise Arensberg, of her revelation of modern art’s value as she studied a Matisse at the Arensbergs’, but she has little to say about those whom she met. She does reflect on the period’s essence, and her personal charm as brought out by Tom Neff’s direction is irresistible.
Wood is observed prowling her studio creating figures, pots and bowls. She adds glaze and slips the pieces into the kiln. Director-writer Neff incorporates samples of her sensitive paintings, but only by sections; her pottery, however, saved for the last part of the docu, gleams after she opens the kiln, a moment she always savors.
Wood herself is a charming, industrious, disciplined, amusing and independent figure who’s still living a full life. One of the speakers proclaims, “Beatrice keeps a wonderful child alive in her.” The spec has been awarded the Cine Golden Eagle.
Archival photos and paintings, historians and curators help fill out the picture, and John Rosasco has supplied a splendid score.