Andy Goldsworthy is an artist who has taken the childhood hobby of playing with sticks and stones and has made it into an art form.
Rivers and Tides is an excellent introduction to his work. Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer the documentary follows Goldsworthy around from forests to seascapes to rivers as he creates various works for the film as well as philosophically discusses the meaning of his art.
Working with leaves, stones, sticks and ice as well as snow and dirt in various landscapes Goldsworthy creates a number of ephemeral and longstanding sculptures and intricate visual patterns that are at once astonishing and yet often simple.
The film is only 90 minutes in length but in that time the value of his work comes through. Primarily how much the form and content blend in well with whatever landscape Goldworhty is working in. Of note is the fact that Goldworthy's work is always trial and error: on a couple occassions his projects fall over and he must start again. But - with his understated and contemplative manner - he accepts this as part of his working process.
One of the things that make the documentary particularly striking is that it is artistically put together. There are a number of sweeping camera moves that track around Goldworthy's work as well as time elapsed shots and interesting cross cutting edits. The musical score is also mesmerizing and has a haunting quality.