©1978, a film by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and
Charlotte Zwerin,16mm, color, 58 mins
A celebration of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's vision;
first a four-year struggle, then 24 1/2 miles of white
nylon fabric, rising from the Pacific and stretching like
a white sail across California.
Runing Fence depicts the long struggle by the artists,
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, to build a 24 mile fence of
white fabric over the hills of California disappearing into
the Pacific. Cost: 3 million dollars. The idea at first must
seem the limit of absurdity for the fence was taken down
as planned at the end of two weeks and now exists solely
on film. There is a struggle between the artists and the
state bureaucracy, who want to prevent the fence being
erected, even though the ranchers whose land it crosses
want it. Opposition seems insurmountable.
The fence finally unfurled brings the community together
in celebration of its beauty. After four years of work,
Christo sees the vision realized. "See how it describes
"Runing Fence picks up where Gimme Shelter left off.
Gimme Shelter, the Maysles Brothers (with Charlotte
Altamont film, dealt with the breakdown of community, the
exhaustion of the youth culture of the 60's; Runing Fence,
their new movie, in a sense deals with the survival of
community, the way in which people discover the meaning
of integrity and integration through a creative act."
-- Robert Taylor, THE BOSTON GLOBE
"By far the finest film I have seen about an artist and
his work. Technically brilliant, beautifully paced, with
not an image wasted or held too long, the film somehow
makes it possible for the viewer to become involved at
a deep and personal level with the whole mad, marvelous
epic. Valley Curtain is never didactic; it neither explains
nor describes, and this is its great strength. On its own
terms the film is as novel, as surprising, as hilarious, and
in the end as beautiful as the work of art with which it deals.
--Calvin Tomkins, the NEW YORKER
Blue Ribbon, American Film & Video Festival.1978
1978 Academy Award Nominee