The Gates (directed by Albert Maysles and Antonio Ferrara): As the Tribeca Film Festival winds down this weekend, the lovely closing film couldn't be more fitting for Gothamists. Perhaps you recall the orange hullabaloo in Central Park two winters ago around Christo and Jean-Claude's art piece, The Gates. But what you may not be aware of is the ongoing artistic relationship between the documentarians the Maysles brothers (also known for their doc on the Beales, Grey Gardens), who've been filming Christo and Jean-Claude's work since in the '70s. They were there with their cameras in '79 when the artists first pitched their idea to the city of installing hundreds of orange gates throughout the park for two weeks in winter. To hear the nay sayers shooting the idea down originally and then to see footage of the rapturous crowds in 2005, is to understand just a little bit better Christo and Jean-Claude's tremendous artistic vision. Ultimately they insist they do their work for themselves alone, but to be reminded how public art enriches our city dwelling experience is really inspiring. We see the gates drawn on photographs, fabricated, constructed, unfurled and then enjoyed against the backdrop of a lush snow storm. Gates from up above, from far away and then from close up--this movie is a gates-gasm. While some of the extensive footage of the orange sails flapping in the winter winds does drag in spots, it's still some very lovely camera work. Maysles and his co-director Antonio Ferrara have done a wonderful job of documenting that particular moment in New York for posterity.
A few other movie going options for the weekend: Go back to the swinging '60s with Paul Mazursky's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice on Friday and Saturday, as a part of the retrospective for the director on now at the Film Society. Get a double dose of Johnny To's Asian gangster machinations with Election and its sequel Triad Election both now playing at Film Forum. Also worth a watch, this week's Essential Art House: Janus 50 film at the IFC Center, Louis Malle's Murmur of the Heart.
[Pictured: The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Photo by Wolfgang Volz ©2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude.]