From its opening sequence, “D’art” commands your attention with its zappy swing music and montage of fine artist Robert Clinch launching paper darts into the air as collector Jeff Brown puts on a fire retardant suit and whooshes down a racetrack.
You know their two worlds are about to meet. You don’t know how or why but you know it’s going to be a sensational adventure and you want to come along for the ride.
Directed by Karl von Möller, “D’art” raises the bar on what a film about art can be.
For starters, thrilling.
When Clinch muses about the idea of painting darts on a Goggomobil Dart sports-car one evening with Brown over a glass of wine, he might not have been expecting his friend, an avid auto and art collector, to go out and buy one then commission him to do just that thing, but so it was, a Goggomobil Dart was to become a canvas and a musing a 15-month long project.
During the first half of the film viewers are introduced to Robert Clinch and his approach to painting, the fascinating background of Melbourne collector Jeff Brown, the history of the Goggomobil Dart and its creator Bill Buckle, and the ever entertaining Tommy Dysart and Joan Brockenshire, who helped revive the Goggomobil name across Australia during the 90s with Dysart’s iconic lines in an advertisement for the Yellow Pages.
The context of these interviews is enriching and provides a humanizing look at the legacy of the car and the amount of planning and work that went into the project. Viewers are able to find connection and understanding as they learn about the origins of the Dart and those involved in the project, so when Clinch actually begins to paint the little car they, too, feel invested in the process.
One area where “D’art” shines is in its ability to maintain momentum while also being reflective. It is a diamond of high energy. A rarity for a film about art. How von Möller achieves this is by not lingering too long on any one scene while maintaining visual interest through stunning cinematography and a wide range of shots. From gorgeous panning scenes to bird’s-eye drone views to medium range shots that are so tangible you hope Clinch doesn’t mind your presence.
Creativity is never small even when a project involves small things.
Microcars and paper darts are big ideas. They are perceptible wonderment and, outside of love, is there anything bigger than wonder?
As delightful as the Goggomobil is and as enchanting as the flight of paper darts are so is the process of watching them come together. “D’art” enthralls with its capturing of creative process and will leave you buzzing with satisfaction at the flight of imagination.