5.8/10
293
3 user 1 critic

Deseret (1995)

Landscape shots of Utah with narration chronicling its history by way of The New York Times excerpts from the 1850s to the 1990s.

Director:

James Benning

Star:

Fred Gardner
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

RR (2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: James Benning
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Take a walk into the dreamlike world of filmmaker Raul Ruiz as he takes us to Paris for a twisting ride. Four strangely symmetrical stories unfold involving love, lust, crime, and time.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Galiena, Marisa Paredes
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Dah and Jocelyn come from Benin, Africa, to coach their rooster, "S'en fout la mort", for an illicit cock-fight in the basement of a restaurant.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Isaach De Bankolé, Alex Descas, Solveig Dommartin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the old days it was called hypochrondria, or black melancholia. Now, apparently, it's termed the Asthenic Syndrome. Whatever it is, Nikolai, a teacher of epicly indifferent pupils, has ... See full summary »

Director: Kira Muratova
Stars: Olga Antonova, Sergei Popov, Galina Zakhurdaeva
Documentary | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee sets out to make a movie about Union General Sherman's March to the Sea towards the end of the American Civil War, but keeps getting sidetracked by his own love life.

Director: Ross McElwee
Stars: Ross McElwee, Dede McElwee, Ross McElwee Jr.
Gabbeh (1996)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When an old couple washes their gabbeh - a type of Persian rug - a young woman magically appears and tells them her life story.

Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Stars: Shaghayeh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Rogheih Moharami
Report (1967)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A compilation of selected bits of archival footage put to a narration of news reports describing the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Director: Bruce Conner
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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 »

Director: James Benning
11 x 14 (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

One of the most widely praised American avant-garde films in recent years, James Benning's 1977 feature is a laconic mosaic of single-shot sequences, each offering some sort of image/sound ... See full summary »

Director: James Benning
Stars: Serafina Bathrick, Ted Brady, Barbara Frankel
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: James Benning
Ceddo (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The Ceddo try to preserve their traditional African culture against the onslaught of Islam, Christianity, and the slave trade. When King Demba War sides with the Muslims, the Ceddo kidnap ... See full summary »

Director: Ousmane Sembene
Stars: Tabata Ndiaye, Moustapha Yade, Ismaila Diagne
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society.

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Rony Clanton, Carl Lee, Yolanda Rodríguez
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Fred Gardner Fred Gardner ... Narrator
Edit

Storyline

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 captured with a stationary camera during a dozen-odd trips throughout the calendar year - deserts, plains of snow, lonely trails, trees in bloom, cemeteries, ruins, unfriendly rocks, empty settlers' houses, roads that seem to be leading nowhere, a few isolated human figures. Deseret's starkly composed images suggest a space haunted by the official history written back East in the Times. Benning collected 93 stories about Utah, boiled them down to a few lines and used a different shot to 'illustrate' each sentence. As we reach 1900, his black and white footage spectacularly turns to color. The stories told recount the loss of American innocence: from the woes and persecution of the Mormons, the fights with the Indians, the struggle to become a state, to the turning of Utah into a testing ground for nuclear... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 2014 (Australia) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Featured in James Benning: Circling the Image (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Visually striking and historically interesting
6 November 2014 | by David_de_JongSee all my reviews

I never heard of James Benning or his work, but 'experimental and structuralist' seems to be a quite fitting description to me after watching his 1995 documentary 'Deseret'.

The title is the name the Mormons used when applying for statehood in 1849 and it combines images from the territory and articles about the subject from the New York Times starting from its founding (in 1851) onwards to tell it's story.

The only reason I watched this movie is because Steven Jay Schneider has this obscure title on his list of 1001 movies 'You Must See Before You Die'. And, although I don't think it's a must see, I can understand why he must have believed he added something special when putting this one on his list.

Benning spent 18 months shooting the Utah scenery from a fixed camera-position. The shots he used from all four seasons make for a nice viewing experience and gives it a timeless charm. While watching natures beauty a voice-over reads you a great number of mostly grim stories about the state from clashes between Native Americans and settlers all the way up to incidents with polygamous clans in recent times. The combination of images and sounds are to me a both awkward and fascinating mixture and make the movie worthwhile.

All in all, although not entertaining in a conventional, Hollywood kind of way, I found this movie both visually striking and historically interesting: a 6 /10 for me.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed