Friday, February 26, 2010

Darkest Americana & Elsewhere I

James Benning: American Dreams

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Darkest Americana & Elsewhere: Films, Video & Words of James Benning
presented in association with the Film Studies Program at the University of San Francisco and the Exploratorium’s Cinema Arts Program

Since the early 1970s, James Benning has created a body of formally innovative, long-form film works which use duration, understated camera work and (at times) elliptical narrative to examine cultural assumptions and contradictions with American culture and history, often revealing darkness or ideological conflict lurking beneath the surfaces of everyday appearances. A filmmaker committed to navigating his own deeply ambivalent relationship with American culture and history, Benning’s works explore the intersections of landscape, history and ideology as elegant monuments to contemplation and the passage of time. This three-program series presents two early films, two new video pieces and a detailed artist presentation that trace these threads in Benning’s work.

Darkest Americana & Elsewhere I
James Benning: American Dreams
[members: $6 / non-members: $10]
Order advance tickets here.

The weekend of works by James Benning commences with two mid-’80s films exploring the dark alliance between the American landscape and the U.S. psyche. Incorporating biographical presentations of Hank Aaron’s spectacular baseball career, would-be assassin Arthur Bremer’s drive toward murder (which culminated in the shooting of George Wallace) and aspects of James Benning’s own life, American Dreams (Lost and Found) is a thorough examination of obsession and drive. (STEVE POLTA & JONATHAN MARLOW)

James Benning: American Dreams (1984), 58 min.

Download program notes