Christo, working with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, achieved a unique position in the art world. He became known for completing huge, physical and visual projects. In New York’s Central Park he installed an exhibition known as “The Gates,” which I enjoyed experiencing. He wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge that I used to cross frequently while living in Paris. “Walking on Water,” a documentary by Andrey Paounov, records his most recent feat, the construction of “the Floating Piers” on Lake Iseo in Italy.
The film records step by step the planning and execution of the project, triumphant construction of piers strung together to connect with an island. All was dismantled as planned 16 days after the opening.
The personality of Christo is captured as we see him arguing with his work force, making his demands, stubborn in his vision and refusing to compromise. There is the passion of a man possessed, even though the result of his dream is something that will disappear except on film, in photographs and in the memory of those who built the walkway and those who experienced it.
Upon the opening of the sections built and strung together in a long walkway over the lake, the crowds that showed up to walk the walk grew so large as to present a safety hazard and limits had to be imposed.
We see the pride and satisfaction reflected in Christo’s demeanor as well as the restlessness which leaves him always planning for his next artistic coup. The film is a mix of beautiful outdoor shots and intimate recording of Christo’s day-to-day struggle to bring the challenge to fruition despite the obstacles that arise. A Kino Lorber release. Reviewed May 17, 2019.