The Austin Cinematheque presents James Benning's "El Valley Centro" in its native format.
Benning said: "I began El Valley Centro in November of 1998; I was driving through the Great Central Valley looking for places to film. I wasn't going to start shooting for at least six months; I wanted to just look and listen - to get to know the Valley well before I would make images. But almost immediately I came across an oil well fire with flames high into the sky. I returned home for my Bolex and Nagra. Determined that landscape is a function of time, I let a full roll of 16mm film (100 feet) run through the camera. At that moment I knew I would make a portrait of The Great Central Valley using 35 two and a half minute shots."