Monday, November 28, 2016

Movie review: Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Follow the rise of artist Cai Guo-Qiang from his childhood in China to the realization of his lifelong dream, the Sky Ladder.

Guo-Qiang Cai, Wen-You Cai, Wenhao Cai, Ben Davis, Jeffrey Deitch, Phil Grucci, Thomas Krens.

Cai Guo-Qiang, a child in Mao's China, has become an art world superstar with fireworks and pyrotechnics his favorite medium. Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang follows the artist from his childhood to stardom and the realization of his lifelong dream, the Sky Ladder. Building a sky ladder out of fireworks sounds almost impossible, and in the film Cai thought so as well at one point, but he delivers once again with a spectacular show. If you have an interest in how fireworks are created, why, and in seeing leading-edge displays this is a great start.

As a documentary there really isn't much acting here. That said, Cai and others in the show presented pretty well.

Camera work must have been a challenge with this one. Good use of drones and footage from multiple locations, at a variety of speeds, did a nice job of capturing the fleeting images. Dialogue was pretty good, though you should be okay with subtitles if you are going to watch this one. Sound and soundtrack were just fine.

Overall Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang is a very nicely done documentary both from the perspective of a biography and as exploration of explosion art. Cai's fireworks displays are simply incredible.

Nothing here to limit audience age.

Released: 2016
Reviewed: 11.8.16
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Documentary, Social & Cultural Documentaries, Fireworks

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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