There are fireworks aplenty in the unique art of Chinese-born, New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang — as you can see here in the exclusive trailer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald’s new documentary Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang.
Cai’s signature works involve a lot of gunpowder. In 1993 he created an installation piece that set off the explosive substance along six miles of the Great Wall. In 2008, he contributed bombs bursting in air to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. And Macdonald (One Day in September, Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland) was granted unrestricted access to the artist at work, while also tracing his spiritual roots back to his home country’s cultural revolution.
And the documentary spends much of its svelte 76 minutes focusing on the one dream that has eluded Cai for 20 years: Sky Ladder, a 1,650 foot vertical trail of fire climbing into the skies. With Macdonald at the helm, plus Wes Anderson’s career-long cinematographer Robert Yeoman behind the camera, the film becomes a spectacle on par with one of Cai’s incredible artworks.
Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang was acquired out of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is playing at the London Film Festival before premiering in New York and Los Angeles and launching on Netflix on Oct. 14. Check out the trailer above, and the exclusive poster below.