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Slow Decay

Imagining new worlds, both real and conceptual, is an objective for many artists, but few have achieved that goal as literally as German painter/sculptor Anselm Kiefer, who in 1992 moved to La Ribaute, an abandoned silk-factory complex in Barjac, France, and slowly turned it into a labyrinth of grand subterranean chambers and stoic concrete towers. He continued to work in the massive, always-changing landscape of that studio/art installation until 2008, when he simply left it all behind, a civilization in ruins.

Filmmaker Sophie Fiennes (yes, she’s the sister of Ralph and Joseph) caught the compound’s glory and decay on film when she turned her camera on Barjac to make Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a haunting documentary that doubles as an essay on the human imagination, all to the strains of a spooky Ligeti soundtrack. When the film screens tonight as part of the University of Colorado’s International Film Series (and, specifically, its documentary sub-series), it will offer not only a rare opportunity to see the unusual narrative, but also a chance to check out a change in digs for at least a portion of IFS screenings: the campus’s brand-new Visual Arts Complex.

“It had me at the title,” IFS director Pablo Kjolseth says of the film. “I found it very hypnotic. It has a beautiful, slow opening, with tracking shots that take you through interesting areas and exteriors.” And, he adds, it fits the venue: What better place to show a film about art than in a building dedicated to its creation?

See Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow at 7 p.m. in the VAC auditorium, 1085 18th Street, Boulder. Tickets are $6 to $7; for information about this film and the rest of the IFS fall roster, visit or call 303-492-1531.
Thu., Sept. 22, 2011


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