7.4/10
927
1 user 18 critic

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (2016)

Trailer
2:06 | Trailer
Trace the rise of contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang from childhood in Mao's China to global art world superstar, and join his quest to realize his lifelong obsession: Sky Ladder.

Director:

Kevin Macdonald
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Humpty (2015)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

In this character-driven comedy, Dean is thrilled to find out his girlfriend Dani is pregnant. Eager to prove his parenting abilities to an unsure Dani, he decides to retake an old high ... See full summary »

Director: Clare Sackler
Stars: Todd Bartels, Sarah Burkhalter, Sarah Clements
UnChartered (TV Series 2015)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Party-girl Ali is broke and desperate. While working a breezy temp gig as a receptionist in a Brooklyn Charter School, she finds herself semi-permanently substitute teaching the 3rd grade. ... See full summary »

Stars: Alexander Jameson, Sal Rendino, Kate Britton
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A romanticized look at the rites of Christmas in a variety of British homes.

Directors: Kevin Macdonald, Ilona Kacieja
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After the death of his beloved aunt, Daniel, a gay, struggling actor, visits Esther, his devout Christian, Korean mother. Despite their differences, they try to heal together. But old habits die hard.

Director: Cathy Yan
Stars: Daniel K. Isaac, Alexis Rhee, Josh Bishop
Documentary | Short | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Carmen Herrera is one of the oldest working artists today. She was a pioneering abstract painter in the '40s and '50s, but only recently found the recognition that eluded her for most of her career, as she approaches her 100th birthday.

Director: Alison Klayman
Stars: Carmen Herrera
Short | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

In a random night of summer 1998, two suitemates from a boarding primary school incidentally travel through time to 15 years ahead. Wandering in the same neighborhood of North Point, Hong ... See full summary »

Director: Colleen Kwok
Stars: Tinlong Au, Kaki Leung, Winky Tso
Burden IV (2016)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A probing portrait of Chris Burden, an artist who took creative expression to the limits and risked his life in the name of art.

Directors: Richard Dewey, Timothy Marrinan
Stars: Chris Burden, Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A look at the history of one-time Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, infamously known as "The Butcher of Lyon." This documentary's main focus will be on Barbie's post-war activities, in which ... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Raymond Aubrac, Robert Badinter, Klaus Barbie
Phishing (2010)
Short | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

When mild mannered Tyler finds a sitter for his pet fish off the Internet, he unwittingly gets involved in not only a robbery scam, but his robber's personal life as well.

Director: Michael E. Wood
Stars: Tyler Fischer, Bill Mootos, Celester Rich
Documentary | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Michael Douglas, Ankie Spitzer, Jamal Al Gashey
Extremis (2016)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Witness the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions as doctors, patients and families in a hospital ICU face harrowing choices.

Director: Dan Krauss
Stars: Monica Bhargava, Jessica Zitter
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Ian Buruma Ian Buruma ... Himself
Guo-Qiang Cai Guo-Qiang Cai ... Himself
Wen-You Cai Wen-You Cai ... Herself
Wenhao Cai Wenhao Cai ... Herself
Ben Davis Ben Davis ... Himself
Jeffrey Deitch Jeffrey Deitch ... Himself
Phil Grucci Phil Grucci ... Himself
Thomas Krens Thomas Krens ... Himself
Tatsumi Masatoshi Tatsumi Masatoshi ... Himself
Orville Schell Orville Schell ... Himself
Jennifer Wen Ma Jennifer Wen Ma ... Herself
Hong Hong Wu Hong Hong Wu ... Herself
Yimou Zhang ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Trace the rise of contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang from childhood in Mao's China to global art world superstar, and join his quest to realize his lifelong obsession: Sky Ladder.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Discover an artist reaching for the sky

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

14 October 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Escada Para o Céu: A Arte de Cai Guo-Qiang See more »

Edit

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$277,761
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The twenty-seventh Netflix original documentary. See more »

Soundtracks

Epic Adventures
Written by Patrick Hawes (PRS)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Art is a bang
6 November 2017 | by linkogeckoSee all my reviews

One of the best signs to gauge your engagement in this documentary is whether you find the idea of an artist whose main medium is fireworks and explosions original and brilliant or not. Cai Guo-Qiang is a Chinese-born artist from an artistic family, his father did traditional calligraphy and painting and, during the Cultural Revolution, somewhat found himself in hot water for it. As a reactionary posture towards this social context and the personal one stemming from their complicated relationship, along with the symbolic weight of fireworks and gunpowder as iconic Ancient Chinese inventions, Guo-Qiang rejected these traditional mediums and embraced this unexpected new one.

"Sky Ladder" does an excellent job of showing these personal and cultural dimensions to his work, specially in following the development of the titular performance. A conceptual pyrotechnic ladder extending hundreds of meters into the air tethered by a balloon, already failed on 3 attempts, Sky Ladder seems to represent Guo-Qiang's most personal work. The narrative of the film isn't entirely dedicated to Sky Ladder but it remains a constant topic and is crucial to the third act as it mostly deals with the 4th attempt to execute it, this time in a small Chinese fishing village significant to the Cai family for a number of reasons. Along the way, the documentary lets us know plenty about the artist's personal life, his early work, what art critics and personalities think of him and his work both in the East and West as well as give him plenty of opportunities to show his candor in one-on-one interviews. One such interview of note is the one where he questions why his work for the Chinese government (he designed the fireworks shows for the 2008 Olympic Ceremonies) is questioned while most Western artists' isn't, despite no government being free from sin.

The documentary is extensive and thorough (as is usually the case with director Kevin Macdonald), dealing with the politics of China as influence and sometimes foil for this artistic creation. An emotional narrative is also followed to show the artist's relation to his art becoming hugely successful and how this might clash with his original iconoclastic vision, as well as moments with his family, friends and collaborators. The profile is completed by showing that Guo-Qiang's art consists of more than fireworks displays, we see plenty of his museum-packing multimedia installations as well as his also-iconic "gunpowder paintings". Overall, "Sky Ladder" works as a very complete profile on an interesting, innovative artist, without leaving his human size unexplored and as a very small window to peek into the massive landscape of modern China and specifically its art, which has produced figures as well-known as Zhang Yimou, Ai Weiwei and yes, Cai Guo-Qiang.


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed