Prophecy – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

A few months ago, I viewed a film called Leaning into the Wind – Andy Goldsworthy. The film is largely an exploration on the process of Andy’s work, and the obsession of his playful nature during his artistic process. I hated the film. It was a self-indulgent, poorly paced, ignorant mess that failed to encapsulate the charm of Goldsworthy’s work. Cut forward to now, ever since viewing Leaning into the Wind, I’ve been purposefully avoiding films regarding the artistic process, more so in the contemporary art side of things, in order to not reach the same level of disappointment and distaste I had with said aforementioned film. However, after viewing Charlie Paul’s Prophecy, my previous mindset has completely changed for the better. Prophecy is an astonishing feat in the documentary genre, in which the film both revolutionizes the medium itself, and technology for future artists to pave the way for a brighter future.

Labeled as the “first major film to reveal the motive and techniques behind each stroke of paint as the artist creates”, the usages of time lapses, dubbed over the film’s acute string instrumental score, is nothing short of overwhelmingly powerful and emotional. Seeing Peter Howson’s Prophecy come to life, from it’s very first stroke, to its final sale, will never not be astonishing. While it’s frequent narrative nature does become repetitive, near the second half of the film, Prophecy is a near perfect examination of an artist, searching for comfort in their own respective work.

Prophecy screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, as part of the Artscapes program. Rerun screenings will occur on the following dates:

Monday, April 29th– 1:30 PM – Isabel Bader Theatre

Sunday, May 5th– 12:30 PM – Hart House Theatre

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