Conversation about the work of Yang Fudong often turns to the Chinese artist’s alluring surfaces. Fudong has a predilection for film noir and introspective-looking young models, and these most famously come together in his stunning multi-channel video installations, which fragment his film to surround the viewer in a stimulating “screen environment.” “The Fifth Night” is one such example. However, Estranged Paradise, the artist’s mid-career survey now on view at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), includes not this work but its more self-conscious double, “The Fifth Night (Rehearsal).” This version shows not the film itself but the associated camera monitor feeds, resulting in something more rough hewn and reflective upon its own artifice. This is emblematic of the exhibition as a whole. Modest in size but purposefully curated, it aims to direct focus upon Fudong’s role as a key commentator upon the culture of contemporary China, where two decades of consumer capitalism and intense urbanization have produced a psyche as fractured as the artist’s videos.
A staid Kansas town prepares for its annual Labor Day picnic. On the surface, this town is idyllic Americana, but underneath seethe some not-so-bucolic desires. Kim Novak, Rosalind Russell, and William Holden star. (115 min.)