Sunday, May 11, 2003

James Benning’s California Trilogy

El Valley Centro, Los and Sogobi

San Francisco Art Institute

James Benning’s films have long provided unique insights into American landscapes and the geo-politics and psycho-histories that shape them. His California Trilogy, shot between 1998 and 2001, and consisting of El Valley Centro, Los and Sogobi, is a remarkable portrait of our state, focusing first on the Central Valley (and the politics of land and water use), then on the urban environment of Los Angeles, and finally on California wilderness. Benning combines a rigorously formal structure (each film consists of 35 shots, each 2-1/2 minutes long) with an acutely political eye and a deep sense of reverence for the land made palpable through his stunning cinematography. For Sogobi (the Shoshonean word for earth), Benning spent an entire year filming, and he feels that this is the closest he has ever come to portraying a true sense of place. (Irina Leimbacher)

NOTE: Special screening begins at 5 pm with a one-hour break from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Special price for 3 films: $10 general, $6 discount