directed by Louis Malle, USA 1985, 95'
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art invites to a film screening which accompanies Assaf Gruber’s Rumour exhibition. It will be an occasion to meet the artist in person on the last day of his show at U–jazdowski.
God’s Country, Louis Malle’s documentary from 1986, is a heartwarming and enduring portrait of the local citizenry of Glencoe, a small town in the state of Minnesota. Its population has not increased significantly since the film was shot and stands today at only about 5,000 people. Although made more than 30 years ago, the film seems as relevant as if it was produced recently. It touches upon subject matters such as Caucasian ethnic uniformity in small towns; how economic crisis influences the political orientation of individuals in small communities and even upon the Christian attitudes to abortion.
The film is divided into two main parts: the first captures the everyday lives of the women and men in Glencoe’s prosperous farming community during 1979, while Jimmy Carter was the president of the United States of America. In the second part, shot in 1985, Malle and his film crew revisited Glencoe during Ronald Reagan’s term. The same subjects reflect again on their daily lives when their ambitions and dreams were decimated by economic decline. Throughout both parts of the film, Malle interviews people from a broad range of ages and with different marital statuses with a benevolent approach, with no judgment.
The director’s emotive attitude together with the generous sincerity of Glencoe’s citizens create a unique document that can help us to rethink our present: How communities create bridges and common understanding when economic rationalism creates turmoil and takes precedence over democratic values?
Assaf Gruber (born in Jerusalem, lives in Berlin) makes films and sculptures that deal with the interplay between the ideologies of individuals and their personal biographies, and the way in which these shape and influence private and public spheres. The exhibition at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art brings together recent and earlier works by Gruber that examine relationships between cultural institutions, from natural history museums to art academies, and subjects who had experiences that turned them against artistic creation and cultural establishments.