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 ...
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Sixty one-minute shots with no camera movement. This tension between painterly and cinematic space is not only experienced as an intellectual contrast but is also felt as a dialectic ... See full summary »
American Dreams is chock full of concrete, discrete elements that comprise an American iconography of the past three decades. The film encourages a kind of perverse nostalgia for 'the good ... 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 »
This is a soundless story of the building of 'Toledo Spirit', the container ship, its sailing and eventual beaching. Insignificant men crawl on cranes and gantries to build it and other men, sans the equipment, scrape it after beaching.
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 »
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 in the 1950s. Bernadette Prott was a California teenager who stabbed a friend to death over an insult in 1984. Benning's distanced approach to such grisly material is as far removed as possible from sensationalism, however. Although the acts of murder are both bizarre and violent, Benning dwells on them only minimally, emphasizing instead the details of psychological motivation, which in both cases seem frighteningly mundane. Benning has created a script which is a masterpiece of understated colloquial writing, and the actors he employs to re-enact confessional testimony and incidents recounted in trial transcripts perform with a flatly convincing lack of affect reminiscent of Gary Gilmore. The two monologues are embedded in Benning's characteristic meditations of landscape: long shots of the ...Written by