Edition Filmmuseum 92
The American independent film maker James Benning has built up over the period of almost 40 years an oeuvre focusing on places and time. In long, unedited scenes, he shows his vision of, or amazement at, phenomena or landscapes that have long been considered a part of everyday reality.

In Ruhr, Benning allows his camera to roam the Ruhr Valley in Germany, where his parents came from. There are six meticulously framed takes at places where apparently little happens: a tunnel with a single car, a forest where planes race overhead, a factory with glowing rods of steel, a mosque with a hundred bowing heads, a wall where someone takes up arms against graffiti and an enormous chimney from which smoke is occasionally belched out. They seem to come from a different reality, but are also familiar: worrying and reassuring at the same time.

His latest work, Natural History, is an audiovisual portrait commissioned by Vienna's Natural History Museum. In 54 static shots, Benning provides a picture of the Museum. With the exception of the first three shots, he chooses areas that are normally closed to the public: offices, store rooms and empty corridors. A characteristically meditative Benning, even though this time he chooses to stay indoors.

Reinhard Wulf's feature-length documentary James Benning: Circling the Image, produced for German television, rounds off the set.

2 x DVD9 | PAL 16:9 | 02:01:35 + 01:16:36 | 6.30 Gb + 7.66 Gb + 3% rec
Language: No dialogues
Genre: Documentary

DVD 1:
Ruhr 2009, 122'
Fire & Rain: Viennale Trailer 2009, 1'

DVD 2:
Natural History 2014, 77'
James Benning: Circling the Image 2003, 84' in English with German subtitles

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  5. Purple Rain (1984) DVD9