In The Sky on Location, French-born Babette Mangolte, feeling the pull of the American West, sets out to map the region through its shifting seasonal palette, resulting in a chromatic geography of the landscape as well as a keen-eyed meditation on its history. Mangolte’s remarkable and underappreciated film is preceded by the lyrical portraiture of Ute Aurand’s To Be Here. Explains Aurand,I visited New England many times and decided to make a film about what attracted me, like the women’s colleges, the Shakers, Katharine Lee Bates and her ‘America the Beautiful.’ I traveled through the present New England evoking former idealists and visionaries. Mount Holyoke College takes a special place in my film. The impulse for my trip to the Southwest in the second half of the film also came from ‘America the Beautiful,’ which Bates wrote on her visit to Pikes Peak. While traveling west, I visited the Hopi and felt far, far away from the United States of America. Nature seems to preserve what we the people forget.”

The Sky on Location
Babette Mangolte, 1982, 16mm, 78m

To Be Here
Ute Aurand, Germany, 2013, 16mm, 38m