Kino Lorber // 2010 // 105 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // March 2nd, 2013
"In 1993 artist Anselm Kiefer left Germany and moved to La Riboute, a derelict silk factory near Barjac in the South of France. From 2000 he began a series of elaborate construction, there is a labyrinth of tunnels, an ampitheatre, 47 buildings, bridges, lakes and towers."
Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow opens with images of La Riboute -- pipes, concrete, and wires -- and a haunting hymn of a score. Since it's an art installation, it's not quite the cozy tunnel city of Montreal. However, it is impressive to look at. Soon we hear the ambient sounds of Anselm Kiefer at work. The camera glimpses him, then pans the wide work area before returning to focus on Kiefer again.
Most of Over Your Cities shows Kiefer at work, often with equipment like earth movers. In the midst, there's an interview with the artist in which he explains his philosophy. Then there's more of him at work.
If it sounds repetitive, it is. In the interview, Kiefer says, "You don't experience yourself when you're not bored." There were a few times when I had the chance to experience myself during Over Your Cities. Sadly, I'm not Zaphod Beeblebrox; I was just bored. Director Sophie Fiennes does her best to find interesting shots; one of a cat jumping, startled by the artistic activity, was my favorite. There are also some good scenes of him shaping fossil-like teeth and breaking glass. Still, there are times when Kiefer's work is just too repetitive.
Also, it would have been better to learn more about the artist. Wikipedia lets us know that the Holocaust and its toll are a major theme in his work. Knowing that could have given me more insight as I watched.
Presented in standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby 5.1 Surround sound, a photo gallery of La Riboute is the only extra.
I'm sure Kiefer's finished work was interesting; I'd love to tour La Riboute. Over Your Cities is beautiful enough to have been a Cannes selection. It will surely please an artist or an admirer of Kiefer, but others might be turned off by the slow patches.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Kino Lorber
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French, German)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery