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.
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 Exceedingly shy and withdrawn, Frame was diagnosed as schizophrenic and placed in an asylum where she received hundreds of electric shock treatments, a procedure now thought to be worthless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.