A young man goes to a school for servants run by a brother and sister. In the dreamlike and surreal world that he enters, how will his presence impact the people there and possibly even the school itself?
Jakob arrives at the Institute Benjamenta (run by brother and sister Johannes and Lisa Benjamenta) to learn to become a servant. With seven other men, he studies under Lisa: absurd lessons of movement, drawing circles, and servility. He asks for a better room. No other students arrive and none leave for employment. Johannes is unhappy, imperious, and detached from the school's operation. Lisa is beautiful, at first tightly controlled, then on the verge of breakdown. There's a whiff of incest. Jakob is drawn to Lisa, and perhaps she to him. As winter sets in, she becomes catatonic. Things get worse; Johannes notes that all this has happened since Jakob came. Is there any cause and effect?Written by
Spoken at beginning of movie: Who dares it, has no courage. To whom it is missing, feels well. Who owns it, is bitterly poor. Who is successful, is damaged. Who gives it, is hard as hard as stone. Who loves it, stays alone. See more »
I shall never let myself be rescued, nor shall I ever rescue anybody.
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The first time I saw this movie, I fell asleep--but I don't blame the movie at all. I was tired. Before I fell asleep, I found it frustrating and oblique. But when I woke up, suddenly the dream logic of the movie seemed to make sense. Then I saw it again.
Often compared to Eraserhead, I think this movie has much, much more to offer than Lynch's first feature. Institute Benjamenta doesn't have any kind of decoder...in fact, it refuses any. Filmed in a hazy, drowsy black-and-white, with scenes of flat, if surreal, simplicity, interspersed with dreamy, nonsensical interludes, it must be accepted before it can be enjoyed.
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