El Valley Centro


Rental Format(s): 16mm film

All of James Benning's films share an affinity with landscape photography; exquisitely composed, with minimalist content, they reveal a love of nature and the West in particular. The long duration of his individual shots invites contemplation, and whether through written text, captions, or voice-over, he draws our attention to the social implications of place as well. Each site is revealed as at once beautiful and ugly-complicated by its history. In his extraordinary new film, he turns his attentive gaze on California's Central Valley. Images of plowing and harvesting expose a region deeply connected to agribusiness. Strangely unpopulated-a few fisherman at a canal, a couple of fruit pickers, two women practicing for the rodeo-the area appears to be a company town, where corporate values dominate. It not just the abandoned nuclear plant, crop duster, and oil rigs, but the huge fields that dwarf tractors, and the total absence of unaltered landscape that signal corporate values are at work. Water is regulated, the land is furrowed, and fires burn under control. Human sound is faintly heard, but perhaps only remembered.
- Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The California Trilogy - El Valley Centro, Los, and Sogobi can be rented as a package for the discounted price of $1200.

Rental Fees

  Fee  
16mm film $500.00  

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