Year: 2022
Country: USA
Director: James Benning
Genre: documentary
Runtime: 65 min.
Age: 18+
A lonely tree before a winter sky, modern wooden houses and a plain brick hotel from the early 20th century, passing trains heard before seen: this could be any small American town, which it is and it isn’t; there’s enough time and space for contemplation of both. Founded in 1908, Allensworth was the first municipality in California to be governed by African-Americans. As we pass through the year and around the settlement, elements of this specific heritage also begin to accumulate: “Blackbird” by Nina Simone, “In the Pines” sung by Huddie Ledbetter, Lucille Clifton poems read out by a little girl direct to camera. But these are just echoes in a place that is now a museum, a space for reflection that the film maps out, fragments and amplifies as only cinema can, a place to think about what was, like the graveyard shown in the final shot. But remembering the past is also remembering that not all pasts are equal, and that’s where duration comes into play. Time still needs to be taken.

Awards & Festivals:

Berlin International Film Festival – participaton (Forum)
Cinéma du Réel Award, Nominee – International Competition