Anselm Kiefer's Labyrinth

Director Sophie Fiennes Explores the Artist's Studio Complex in Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow

Shedding light on the otherworldly studio-turned-artwork of controversial legend Anselm Kiefer, Sophie Fiennes’s compelling meditation Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow hits US screens next week. “The whole thing builds from the point of view of how I'm going to tell the story of this subject—not the subject of Anselm Kiefer, the subject of this place,” says Fiennes. A former student of Joseph Beuys, Kiefer left Germany in 1993 for rural France to embark on his biggest project yet at his secluded hillside studio La Ribaute. His epic reconstructions transformed the previously derelict silk factory and expansive 35-hectare estate through building a labyrinth of caves, tunnels and over 48 structures to house his proliferation of sculptures and grand canvases. Set to a moving score from Jörg Widmann and György Ligeti, Fiennes’s Cannes-nominated film captures the physical grandeur of the space with snail-paced crane shots. “The language of filmmaking can defy gravity and travel through the landscape in a way you couldn’t do if you actually went there,” says the director. “By moving in that way you can make something immersive, an experience and not just information.”

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow is released at New York’s Film Forum on August 10th.
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