FIVE FILMS ABOUT CHRISTO AND J
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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
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
The commentary tracks are a perfect companion to the ephemeral, massive, wonderful works themselves.
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.
I will return to these videos for inspiration over and over again.