June 16, 2021

TEN SKIES (Dir. James Benning, 2004)

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth

Address: 2511 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. 90057

L.A. launch of Erika Balsom's new book on TEN SKIES.

James Benning in person!

Filmed around Val Verde, California, this series of skyscapes gracefully visualizes human civilization’s interaction with, and impact on, the landscape. The skies and cloud formations chosen by Benning are affected by pollution from an industrial factory, jet trails, and smoke from an accidental wildfire, all clearly legible upon the firmament. And yet, despite these ominous environmental undercurrents, Benning conceived TEN SKIES as an anti-war film, describing his work to be “about the antithesis of war, [about] the kind of beauty we’re destroying.” This intention is affirmed in the reflective serenity of his images; the varying tones, textures and colors of the atmosphere, and the shifting transformations of billowing clouds that produce astonishing perceptual revelations about scale, ephemerality, and the cinematic frame.

Film to be projected on 16mm.

Copies of the book TEN SKIES, including a limited number signed by James Benning, will be available to purchase after the screening.



A mesmerizing study in time, light, movement, and. moisture.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Evoke[s] primeval cinema with a power that I wouldn’t have thought still possible.

J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

James Benning’s movies show me how to look, and confirm the way I want to see. To regard a sky after seeing TEN SKIES is to be versed in the absorbing drama of subtle events.

Rachel Kushner, Author

One of this unique filmmaker's greatest works, and on paper, one of his most minimalist: ten shots of the sky, each lasting ten minutes. But the experience of watching – and hearing – it is fabulously rich and intense. The skyscapes are filled with life and change at the speed of light. The soundtrack creates an equally rich narrative space by way of ten short stories that are 'insinuated' without ever being 'explained.' A masterpiece.

Alexander Horwath, Film Comment