Film Forum

Good Films: Movies about art and artists

This series, “Good Films You May Have Missed,” calls attention to movies new and old that Filmworks didn’t show for one reason or another. Titles are available (or soon will be) from Netflix and other streaming services.

By Jim Piper

RIVERS AND TIDES
Germany/Finland/UK/Canada • 2001 • Dir: Thomas Riedelsheimer
This documentary about Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy shows how the artist purposely works with materials that will blow away, float away, or rot away – Goldsworthy’s real subject.

BASQUIAT
USA • 1996 • Dir: Julian Schnabel
This film traces the travails of Cuban poet and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who wrote about taboo political subjects and ended up in prison. Basquiat’s work still draws crowds decades after his death.

AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE
New Zealand/Australia/UK • 1990 • Dir: Jane Campion
Campion gives us a quiet but instructive film about Janet Frame, one of only a handful of world-famous New Zealand writers. Exceedingly shy and withdrawn, Frame was diagnosed as schizophrenic and placed in an asylum where she received hundreds of electric shock treatments, a procedure now thought to be worthless and damaging. But not for Janet: She wrote her best stuff after the treatments. The New Yorker magazine recently published a previously uncollected Frame story.

See this list for more films about art and artists.

Jim Piper is a Filmworks board member, a filmmaker, and a retired film studies instructor.

Every second Friday of the month, Fresno Filmworks screens first-run independent and international movies at the historic Tower Theatre.