In a feat of art and engineering, artist Theo Jansens creates large-scale “beach animals” that move independently, powered by the wind. The film premiered at the 2015 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Each year, the artist Theo Jansen tests out his latest strandbeesten (“beach animals”) on the Dutch coast. These are almost mythical beings made from manipulated plastic tubes, tie wraps and sails. Powered by the wind, these PVC arthropods can move independently across the sand. In A Boy’s Dream, we follow the philosophically inclined artist as he carries out his impressive tests on the beach and during his travels to Japan and the United States, in the hope that his creations will not only garner public recognition, but will also attract the interest of museum curators. In the meantime, Jansen always speaks animatedly about the evolution of his creations and the sometimes fragile balance between his work and his private life. The film is also a portrait of the master at work, creating great feats of technology: from mini-strandbeesten to insane-looking colossuses that wouldn’t be out of place in a sci-fi film. And all of them powered only by the wind or air pressure from plastic bottles. Slogging along, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of PVC creaking, the often-huge strandbeesten patrol the coastline. Impressively, as Jansen himself still thinks: “I am creating a new piece of nature, adding a new species.” The fact that his strandbeesten can’t live without him is disconcerting, as is his own mortality. – synopsis by IDFA
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