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Rooftop Cinema: Canyon Cinema 50 Tour

  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Art 227 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The eclectic and profound film co-op celebrates its 50th anniversary with this screening. Info

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MMoCA continues its June rooftop art-film series with a showcase prepared by the influential experimental film distributor Canyon Cinema, which turned 50 last year and boasts one of the world’s largest collections of experimental and truly diverse (in all definitions) film, along with a reputation for fair, cooperative distribution that benefits the artists. The museum hosts one of the travelling 50th-anniversary digital collections, which features rare films recently transferred from their original 16mm format over to HD. The non-profit is one of the few distributors of art films that previously only existed on physical reels, so these films weren’t able to be watched until, finally, now.

Fake Fruit Factory, directed by Canyon Cinema Co-Founder Chick Strand in 1986, documents Mexican women and their American boss working in the eponymous factory, as they paint and decorate fruits and vegetables. Through abstract close-ups, the viewer learns about the sex lives of these laborers and what do with their leisure time, with only brief glimpses of their faces. Bruce Baille, another Canyon Cinema co-founder, is featured, with his three-minute documentary, Mr. Hayashi, which is an investigation of an out-of-work gardener’s struggles with being a recent U.S. immigrant. Continuing the theme of uncannily intimate documentary is Scott Stark’s Degrees of Limitation, which shows the director running a distance that slightly increases with each take until he abruptly runs out of film. The showcase also includes films from Barbara Hammer, Cauleen Smith, Scott Stark, Karen Holmes, and Janie Geiser —Reid Kurkerewicz