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December 6 - 15, 2002

Global Visions
Landscape and Desire: Reports from a Contested Planet

This series brings together a range of recent nonfiction films that focus on deeply personal perceptions of places in time—places of our time. Like the very earliest forms of cinema, which took entranced spectators to far away-places they had never seen and to daily vistas they could now view, through the camera’s eye, in new ways, each of these films trains its gaze onto the landscapes of a contemporary time. The result is a modern travelogue through the significant destinations of a new century—destinations that nonetheless elicit struggles carried over from the past.


Directors Bryan Kortis and Steven Mudrick in Person
December 6 (Friday) 7 pm
December 7 (Saturday) 9 pm

WTC Uncut

Directed by Bryan Kortis and Steven Mudrick
US 2002, video, color, 74 min.

This innovative documentary consists of a single, uncut shot of the World Trade Center, captured from an office window in real time, under siege on the morning of September 11. To this raw document, the makers have matched a complex sound track of radio and television commentary culled from nearly a year of public discussion. The resulting work, which premiered at several museums this past September, serves as an intricate timeline of the attack, the immediate reactions of a stunned nation, and the gradual sorting out of implications and responses. WTC Uncut is invaluable for its clear-eyed—perhaps unrelenting—and horrifically beautiful view of an unimaginable act of destruction, and for its sensitive exploration of the complex human reaction that followed.

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December 6 (Friday) 9 pm
December 7 (Saturday) 7 pm

Gaza Strip

Directed by James Longley
US 2002, video, color, 74 min.

Filmed during the first four months of 2001, a period that covers the election of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and extends to the first major armed incursion into "Area A" by the Israeli military, Gaza Strip is a striking piece of personal reportage made by a young American during his first trip to the Middle East. Longley’s aim was to make a documentary about Palestinians from inside the Gaza Strip, in reaction to what he perceived as a lack of good media coverage of that area. The resulting work emerges as a potent record of the humanity of a people under siege: children dodging machine-gun fire on their way home from school, rock-throwing demonstrations, patients suffering in the hospitals from a gas attack, women in tents whose houses have been bulldozed, attacks and counterattacks, and many funerals.

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December 8 (Sunday) 7 pm
December 13 (Friday) 9 pm

Peasant Profile: The Approach (Profils paysans: L’approche)

Directed by Raymond Depardon
France 2001, video, color, 90 min.
French with English subtitles

 

The elderly rural population of France is slowly dwindling away and may completely disappear over the next few years. In one of his most personal works, celebrated French photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon closely observes the secluded, quiet life of a small village. He has known some of the people for years; others he befriends while filming. The specific village is of less interest to Depardon, however, than the rural world it represents: the silent meals, the monotonous work routine, the stoic waiting for an end that is near—all dispassionately captured by Depardon’s unerring eye.

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December 8 (Sunday) 9 pm
December 10 (Tuesday) 9 pm
December 11 (Wednesday) 7 pm

Photos to Send

Directed by Dierdre Lynch
US 2002, 35mm, color, 89 min.

In 1954, world-renowned photographer Dorothea Lange traveled to County Clare, Ireland, on assignment for Life magazine. She took 2,400 photographs, creating a lasting record of a rural way of life that would soon disappear. Irish-American cinematographer Dierdre Lynch retraces Lange’s footsteps, traveling the country roads to visit many of the same people Lange met nearly half a century ago

and using the photographs to unlock the poignant—sometimes humourous, sometimes painful—memories of another era. What emerges is a sensitive and moving portrait of men and women who chose to stay on their land no matter what the price.

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December 13 (Friday) 7 pm
December 15 (Sunday) 7 pm

Alexei and the Spring (Alexei to izumi)

Directed by Motohashi Seiichi
Japan 2002, 35mm, color, 104 min.
Russian with English subtitles

Set in a small village in the Republic of Belarus, which was contaminated by the radioactive fallout from the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, Alexei and the Spring portrays the commitment of a tiny community of elderly people, and one young man, who remained to care for what the villagers revere as a sacred spring. This crystal-clear stream escaped contamination and continues to support the life of the villagers, who use it for drinking water, for laundry, and as a site for religious rites. Japanese nonfiction filmmaker Motohashi Seiichi, who has made a previous work about Chernobyl, here finds a surprising lesson in the power of faith amidst an ecological disaster.

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Director James Benning in Person
December 14 (Saturday) 6 pm

California Trilogy: "El Valley Centro" "Los" and "Sogobi"

El Valley Centro

Directed by James Benning
US 1999, 16mm, color, 90 min.

Documentary filmmaker James Benning describes El Valley Centro as a"portrait film." The subject is California’s Central Valley, featured in 35 locations, each shown for 150 seconds. The film’s format recalls early non-narrative cinema of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in which film was used to capture life as it passed before the camera’s eye. Benning’s uniform structure enables the viewer to contemplate each image in depth, and allows for that contemplation to change over the time the image is absorbed. Rhythmically tranquil and penetratingly persistent, Benning’s film is a stunning portrait of the "political geography" of California.

Los

Directed by James Benning
US 2000, 16mm, color, 90 min.

Benning designed Los as the urban companion piece to El Valley Centro. A portrait of Los Angeles that avoids the city proper in favor of the urban landscapes that make up its peripheral sprawl into the desert, the film evokes the intertwined complexity of the many societies and topographies that comprise Los Angeles.

Sogobi

Directed by James Benning
US 2002, 16mm, color, 90 min.

With Sogobi, a Shoshone word for "earth," Benning offers a contemplation of the California wilderness, lending additional perspective to the rural and urban studies that comprised the two previous films of his trilogy. "I spent a year in the middle of nowhere and perhaps this is the closest I’ve come to portraying a true sense of place," he says. "It is quiet. It is noisy. It is hot. It is cold. It is windy. It is still. It is wet. It is dry. It is everywhere. It is nowhere. It is California. It is wilderness."

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