Films

30-umbrellas

Distribution and Rights:

Maysles Films, Inc.

Credits:

• Directors: Albert Maysles, Henry Corra, Grahame Weinbren
• Principal Photography: Albert Maysles with Robert Richman
• Original Score: Phillip Johnston
• Co-Producer: Deborah Dickson
• Producer: Henry Corra
• Additional Cinematography: Gary Steele, Robert Leacock, Don Lenzer, Richard Pearce, Martin Schaer
• Associate Producer: Douglas Graves
• Sound: Merce Williams, Ronald Yoshida, Peter Miller, Bruce Perlman, Roger Phenix
• Editor: Grahame Weinbren
• First Assistant Editor: Sakae Ishikawa
• A Maysles Films, Inc. Production, partially funded by ARTE

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Umbrellas

Albert Maysles, Henry Corra, Grahame Weinbren, 1994, 81 min

Film Synopsis

UMBRELLAS takes a poignant, in-depth look at the concept
and realization of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's project,
Umbrellas: Joint Project for Japan and U.S.A presenting the
artist at his most triumphant and most vulnerable moments -
from the exaltation of the project's opening day through
unexpected tragedies at the end.

The artists chose sites with contrasting cultures, among
people who were unsophisticated about art; a rice-farming
valley in the Japanese province of lbaraki, 72 miles north
of Tokyo, and a cluster of cattle ranches in the rolling hills
of southern California, 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude appealed to 29 land-owners in
California, and a total of 485 people in Japan. In October
1991, as planned, the 1,340 blue umbrellas unfurled in
the dense green foliage and rain-dripped autumn light of
the Japanese valley. On the opposite side of the Pacific
Ocean, the 1,760 yellow umbrellas burst open on dry,
golden-colored grass, glimmering in brilliant California
sunlight.

The film winds through the paddies and the pastures,
showing rice farmers and cattle ranchers reacting with
amusement, skepticism and intrigue - with weather
becoming a forceful project participant. UMBRELLAS
candidly presents the compelling personal reactions to a
tragic death at the California site. Later, during the removal
of the umbrellas, an electrical storm took the life of a
Japanese construction worker. Like life itself, Christo's art has,
in his own words, "a profound dimension of irrationality."

Reviews:

“Maysles’ camera work shows that his astute eye is still strong,
Weinbren’s editing is elegantly rhythmic, and Phillip Johnston’s
original score, which ranges from blues to bounce to big beat,
is a strong plus.”
– Howard Feinstein, VARIETY, March 1994

Accolades:

Grand Prize and People’s Choice Award, Montreal Festival of
Films on Art.