Garden in the sea
Garden in the Sea is the latest project from director Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides, Touch the Sound). He usually makes films about art and artists but he is always aware that he is an artist as well, and it is his eye and his insight which create impact in the films as much as the work of the artists he studies. This is certainly true in this story of Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias, who is commissioned to create a work for the Mexican island preserve of Espíritu Santo.
Iglesias is a sculptor and she is reluctant to add anything to the untouched landscape of the island. But she feels she can add something to the ocean which can be seen from above and which will eventually be changed by the elements and provide something of an artificial reef. She designs a series of concrete screens which include fragmented text about the lore of Atlantis. Most of the follows her plans and immersion in the landscape to choose a site.
What I liked best were shots of Iglesias exploring the island, as Riedelsheimer notices a flower or a bird or a cactus and sees it in a new and unusual way. I also enjoyed the dynamic of the team with the wealthy benefactor, the artist and the local experts trying to mesh. In a subtle way this becomes a story about people and their environment, on the beauty of the sea and the necessity of protecting the ocean.
Towards the end of the film it starts to become a bit too literal, too much of a document of the process as we see the pieces loaded on a barge, lifted by crane, placed in the sea. If it had been done more quickly and more impressionistically it might have worked. But here Riedelsheimer became just a journalist and not an artist. However his shots of fish and divers swimming through the finished piece are astonishing.
The film plays with Reflections: Art for an Oil-Free Coast. This is basically an infomercial made by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. I fully support their work but this is not a film, it's not art but just bombastic activism. I couldn't sit through it. So arrive late.
Future screenings: Oct 08 10:30 am at Empire Granville 7
Oct 12 04:00 pm at the Vancity Theatre