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Pleasure Dome and Cinematheque Ontario are pleased to present an evening with American filmmaker James Benning. Leave it to a former math teacher to show us (again) how cinematography, landscape and human history are comprehensible as integrated fields of meaning. In Deseret (1995, 80 min., Toronto premiere) subjects as diverse as polygamy; land speed records; slavery; the Wobblies; cooperation with and extermination of Indians; John Ford’s westerns and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty; nuclear protests, tests and waste; The Aryan Nation; and, of course, the Mormons are all mapped onto the history of Utah, which is, we come to realize, a symptom of technology, geography and myth-making.
“Benning’s poetic explorations of the American space bring us to a moment of pure contemplation, in which a fleeting absolute may be glimpsed behind the cool seduction of appearances.” (Berenice Reynaud, Film Comment)
The program will also feature a rare screening of Chicago Loop (1976, 8 min.) and a slide presentation by Mr. Benning on his public art installation Oil Well Projection Piece at Lewiston, N.Y. Artpark.
This event has been made possible with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada.