Films: American Falls

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American Falls

American Falls

USA, 2010, 55 Minute Running Time
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: English

Principal Cast: 

American Falls is a single-channel triptych adaptation of a 55-minute, six-channel, 5.1-Surround installation commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It was inspired by a trip that I took to the capital at the invitation of the Corcoran in 1999, where I first encountered Frederick Church's great painting Niagara; took note of a multichannel video installation by Jennifer Steinkamp, projected onto the walls of the Corcoran rotunda; and went on walking tours of various monuments to the fallen throughout the DC area.

The architecture of the rotunda in the vicinity of Niagara invited me to muse on creating an all-enveloping, manmade "falls"; I imagined my commission as something akin to a widescreen version of a WPA/Diego Rivera project at century's end, where mediated images of the American Dream that I had been absorbing since childhood would flow together into the river with the roaring turbulence of America's failures to sustain the myths and ideals so deeply embedded in the received iconography. Emerging historical currents continuously break down and revert to their molten, primal forms and amber waves of pageantry, all eventually converging over the falls (in every sense of the term) as the great unanswered question posed by Charles Ives at the dawn of the last century echoes: Whither America? American Falls was supported by funding from the University of Oklahoma/Thatcher Hoffman-Smith Award and the University of Colorado grants-in-aid program; it’s dedicated to Annie Edson Taylor and Jean François Gravelet (The Great Blondin). The first went over, the second walked above...

—Phil Solomon

The following short films will screen before this film...

  • Still Raining, Still Dreaming

    Still Raining, Still Dreaming

    USA , 2010 , 12 min.
    Director: Phil Solomon The last installment of the three-part series In Memoriam (for Mark LaPore), with all visual materials culled from the video game series Grand Theft Auto.... more

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