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FIVE FILMS ABOUT CHRISTO AND J

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jacques Chirac, Christo, Jeanne-Claude, Willy Brandt, Michel Debré
  • Directors: Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, David Maysles, Deborah Dickson, Ellen Giffard
  • Producers: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Deborah Dickson, Henry Corra, Susan Froemke
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Plexifilm
  • Release Date: Feb. 18 2008
  • Run Time: 282 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B0001OGUWW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,243 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Five of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's most famous projects featured on 3 DVDs and a companion booklet are included in this set. The films bring vividly to life the scope of the projects that they undertook to share their art with the world.

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Top Customer Reviews

I never heard of Christo before watching these films, so it was a treat discovering them, and his art projects at the same time. These documentaries are very interesting, all of them cover his projects from pre-production through finish. If it sounds mundane, it's not, as the movies are also very entertaining for various purposes: one, the actual projects are beautiful, and it's a treat to watch people work together to put them up. two, Christo and Jeanne-Claude themselves are crazy and interesting people to watch. three, none of these projects were easy to get permission for, the process and heart-aches they go through to get permission is all accounted here. The subject matter is interesting, but the documentaries are also dramatically compelling in their structure.
At one point, after wrapping the pont neuf, two strangers in Paris argue about whether or not this is art. The man in favor of it says "you and I don't know each other, if this project never materialized, we'd never meet, ever." This is the essence of Christo's work! He brings people together to celebrate the spirit of self-expression. Ridiculous or not, art or not, it is important an achievement and it provokes discussion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa2b452dc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3343eac) out of 5 stars Great material with recent commentary June 4 2006
By Kendall H. Gelner - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I was at the Gates in New York, and based on that great experience I viewed a few of these DVD's as rentals.

I have only seen the Valley Curtain and Running Fence films, but based on that I am ordering the set to keep. The films themselves of course are a little dated and not perfect transfers by any means, as they are older films made with older equipment and not a lot of effort was made to improve the video quality over the original material. But the original film work itself is very well done (even in sometime very challenging conditions) and the director did a great job capturing the essence of what it is to put up these projects that operate on such a large scale. The Running Fence one was especially good in this regard as it covered a number of public hearings and talks with the ranchers involved well before any construction showing people arguing against the projects.

However that is not the best part of these films. The best part is the commentary tracks which seem to have all been done in 2004 (sometime just before the Gates opened), and include Jeanne-Claude, Christo, and the film maker himself. All of them are very interesting and have a lot to say throughout the film, including a lot of information you'll not get from the films alone. As these were all pretty recent commentaries it also allows for much more interesting perspective in commentary as they can compare some aspects of these older works to more recent ones.

For anyone interested in the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this is a must-watch set of films and will give you great insights into their thought process.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xba5156c0) out of 5 stars Listen to the commentary. May 23 2010
By Sarah Cameron - Published on Amazon.com
If you are fans of Christo and the late Jeanne Claude you will love these films. But as interesting as the films are on their own, they truly come to life when you listen to these great, great artists on the commentary tracks.

The commentary tracks are a perfect companion to the ephemeral, massive, wonderful works themselves.
HASH(0xa3603bcc) out of 5 stars It's all in the doing. Dec 28 2014
By close reader - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
In a number of my literature and art courses in college, it seemed to be a commonplace idea that what mattered in creating art was the process itself. That's a bit of a ridiculous notion if all we have now is the product. And if that idea were true, why wouldn't artists just throw away the results of their processes after they'd enjoyed making things? (Yeah, okay, there's a need to make a living.) I'm sure that Shakespeare must have enjoyed the process of writing (and acting in) his plays, but all we have today is the plays themselves. We cannot enjoy the process. Oh, yes, hundreds (thousands?) of graduate students and professors are devoted to discovering (or more likely inventing--which is another definition of "discovering") what artists' and writers' processes were. Unfortunately, the results of their endeavors are usually pretty dry stuff.

But with Christo's works, it definitely is the process that matters. Yes, the end results are sometimes rather pretty, graceful, and above all startling, but it's what Christo and Jeanne-Claude and their teams DO, the doing that counts. I have to disagree with other reviewers who find the artists' commentary the most important element here; on the contrary, I believe that what's most important is all the convincing, battling, etc. of city councils, governments of countries and other bureaucracies; that, and the public debates, rants, conversations and so on that go on during the draping, floating, etc. How many artists in history have accomplished such things?!

Then all the fun ends after two weeks and the works disappear, which is just as well, because as Peter Schjeldahl has pointed out, they tend to become boring pretty soon. But anyway, all that is what makes these films so wonderfully important. We can watch and enjoy a lot of the process. And along the way, we can learn a great deal, for instance that Christo came to the West without a cent but soon married a rich heiress, that the two of them are as narcissistic a pair as you're ever likely to meet, and other titillating bits of gossip.

These films are well worth seeing, and I'm glad I bought my copies before the prices went through the roof.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3731048) out of 5 stars interesting couple July 20 2009
By Bill S - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
loved the series .... loads of information and very well presented. Not the greatest cinematography but the subject matter overcomes the sometimes poor quality of transfer.
HASH(0xa2bc4744) out of 5 stars Wonderful! Each disc is a gem. It is fascinating to hear the artist's commentaries on the various projects. Jan. 1 2013
By Michael K. Julian - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Those commentarties provide a valuable window into the artscene of the times and places.
I will return to these videos for inspiration over and over again.

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