13 Lakes

  • 135'
  • USA
  • 2004
A series of moving landscape paintings that, in terms of craftsmanship and comprehensiveness, can match up to the series of water-lily paintings by Claude Monet. The film does not focus on coincidental geography - and certainly not on social geography - but on the play of light and reflections. As indicated by the title, Benning shot his film at 13 different lakes, all in America, and those who saw Reinhard Wulf's documentary James Benning Circling the Image last year during the festival know how meticulously the master sets to work. Each lake only had one shot for which the preparation, the choice of the camera position and the moment to be filmed were chosen with great care. The climate, the weather and the season make the film extremely varied, despite its almost monomaniacal point of departure. The power of the film is that the film maker teaches the viewer, without being pedantic, to look better and learn to distinguish the great varieties in the landscape alongside him. The series of names of the 13 lakes is too beautiful not to include here: Lake Michigan, Great Salt Lake, Hiamna Lake, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Pontchartrain, Red Lake, Lake Champlain, Salton Sea, Lake Powell, Lake Winnebego, Flathead Lake, Goose Lake and Moosehead Lake. This series alone is enough to encompass a treatise on America and its history. A treatise the film certainly encourages, but emphatically does not take part in. (GjZ)
James Benning
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
James Benning
James Benning
James Benning
James Benning
James Benning
Sound Design
James Benning