7.5/10
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2 user 7 critic

Los (2001)

Unrated | | Documentary | 2 April 2004 (USA)
Los Angeles is depicted in 35 stationary shots, each 2 1/2 minutes long, in this non-narrative film.

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Los Angeles is depicted in 35 stationary shots, each 2 1/2 minutes long, in this non-narrative film.

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Documentary

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Unrated
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2 April 2004 (USA)  »

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Los (Angeles)  »

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Follows El Valley Centro (1999) See more »

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Film of the year...
11 December 2001 | by (Sunderland, England) – See all my reviews

Conceptual-art portrait of Los Angeles County, comprising 35 two-minute shots of streams, hills, buildings, factories, gardens, highways, rivers, cattle, trains, people, the ocean, a cemetery, the skyline, policemen, back streets, a jail, soccer players. Bennings' camera remains static, and in the absence of commentary the only sounds we hear are whatever's audible in each of these places: snatches of dialogue, distant background music, the rumble of cars and trains.

Needless to say, Los won't be to all tastes - in today's market-oriented climate, such a project necessarily runs the risk of 'pretentiousness' accusations - but it's surprising how quickly you adjust to the film's unique rhythms, and this is a very straightforward, accessible kind of experimentalism. In terms of an artist using cinema to express himself, it dwarfs almost all this year's 'conventional' releases: if any film of 2001 can possibly change the way its audiences think about and view their world, it's James Benning's mysterious, majestic, magical Los.


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