Even in the 21st century, when – or so we are told – attention spans among the younger generations are getting ever shorter, it cannot be denied that patience and concentration are necessary in order to obtain insight. The latest film from James Benning, for decades now one of the major avant-garde documentary makers, can therefore also be described from beginning to end without reducing its creative effect, which after all lies in the time invested.
The film shows, in medium close-up and in four uninterrupted shots lasting just under half an hour each, three women and one man reading a book of their choice, followed by a brief quotation from the book being read. The readers appearing in the film are drawn from Benning’s own circle: they are the daughter of a famous guitarist, two writers and a performance artist. But you could equally argue that, in this case, the reader is in the cinema. Et cetera.
As part of Critics’ Choice, the screening of Sat 27 Jan, 19:00 will be preceded by a video essay by Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert.