In "Landscape Suicide" Benning continues his examination of Americana through the stories of two murderers. Ed Gein was a Wisconsin farmer and multiple murderer who taxidermied his victims ... See full summary »
Employing natural sound and contemplative proscenium shots, Benning skillfully composes a series of pure and majestic images that at once evoke a sense of nostalgic splendor as well as ... See full summary »
James Benning took the founding of the New York Times in 1851 as a departure point for his latest film, Deseret. In the best Benning tradition, Deseret unfolds magnificent landscapes ... See full summary »
James Benning's "Four Corners" uses a specific geographical location to pose larger questions about the United States. Here, the geographic and wholly imaginary place Four Corners, that ... See full summary »
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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