Deseret

  • 80'
  • USA
  • 1995
Deseret is the story of a place, the state of Utah, and is also a story about history and the way it is revealed. A number of articles published in the New York Times between 1850 and now form the main subject of the film. The 93 articles are all about events in Utah - the most mysterious and strict state in the Union. The visuals are largely made up of tableaux of the landscape of Utah - minimalist pictures of deserts and mountains - and is one with the text: both are characterised by steamy desolation. Each shot lasts the same time as a sentence in the text, stressing the passing of cinematic and historic time. Sometimes the shots augment the text, sometimes they are a counterpoint or echo. Utah is not just the home of the Mormon Church, but also of nuclear tests and nerve-gas, Japanese internment camps, disagreements about (Indian) land, poison dumps and earth art. The title of the film, Deseret, was the original name of the state when it joined the Union. Steve Anchor: 'The narrative becomes a terrifying vision of America's struggle between defiant independence and cult fanaticism, freedom and imposed order'.
Director
James Benning
Premiere
International premiere
Country of production
USA
Production Year
1995
Festival Edition
IFFR 1996
Length
80'
Medium
16mm
Language
English
Producer
James Benning
Sales
California Institute of the Arts
Screenplay
James Benning
Cinematography
James Benning
Editor
James Benning
Sound Design
James Benning