New film (video installation) by James Benning "L. Cohen"

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New film (video installation) by James Benning "L. Cohen"

Post by tomsakic » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:32 pm

The legendary US filmmaker and video artist James Benning has new work entitled "L. Cohen". The film premiered at 2018 Berlinale Film Festival and in Paris at the Cinéma du réel film festival.

The Berlinale website categorises it as a "single-channel video installation, 45 min. Without dialogue".

Benning is quite known for his "landscape" films and video art works and this one seems to be in the same style (or "genre").

According to Erica Balsom's yesterday article in the Frieze art magazine:
At the 40th edition of Paris’s Cinéma du réel festival, this year newly under the formidable artistic direction of Andréa Picard, the winner of the international competition was James Benning’s L. Cohen (2018), a 45-minute single take of Oregon farmland. The drone of unseen planes fills the soundtrack, but the relentlessly static image scarcely betrays any trace of movement, with even the blades of grass in the foreground remaining frozen in this windless scene. Then, about halfway through, the great event arrives: a solar eclipse engulfs the world in sublime transformation. Animals howl in the darkness, and then all is restored. The banal and the breathtaking coexist.

L. Cohen is fully the product of digital affordances – no photochemical camera could produce a take so long – and yet it defiantly challenges the temporalities and modes of image production associated with digital culture. It offers observational capture in place of compositing and slow contemplation instead of frenzied distraction, carving out a rare opportunity for a non-instrumental encounter with the world in time. Babette Mangolte put it best in her painfully underrated 1982 film The Sky on Location: ‘What the landscape can give you is a release of intentions, a lack of determinism, which indeed is far from our civilization. Near the end of Benning’s film, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Love Itself’(2001) – a rustling song of light, dust, and passing – plays in full. Perhaps the film is an homage to the departed musician, perhaps a portrait in disguise.
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