Seems like everybody’s talking about the doc “Man on Wire,” and for good reason. But I want to put in a good Netflix word for two great documentaries I holed up with recently.
Fans of “Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal” and “Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time” will appreciate the sneaky depth of “My Kid Could Paint That.” Forget about the soap opera surrounding the dad and the art’s authenticity, this yarn about a 4-year-old art-world darling is a good discussion about art and the media, not to mention an erotic splash of oil paints.
Most important, speaking of the exquisite and meditative “Rivers and Tides,” the best thing I’ve seen lately is “Into Great Silence,” a nearly three-hour foray into the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps. Director Philip Groening spent six months in the monastery, filming the monks in their natural state of purpose, intent, prayer and peace. At one point, one young monk fixes his gaze on the camera, the viewer, you — and the depth of the connection is nothing short of primal. So much so that the man’s inner calm actually flows out into the chaos of the rest of the world and works its peace.
To that end, “Silence” is a work of art that goes far beyond the realm of documentary and into the spiritual itself. At a time when Rick Warren and various holiday celebrations try to define our version of God, “Into Great Silence” is a good reminder of the importance of the inner, and the perfect gift for the armchair ascetic on your list.