James Benning

James Benning – Used Innocence (1989)

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Lawrencia Bembenek was a beautiful bride, a 22-year-old blonde who had worked as both a policewoman and a Playboy bunny, when she was arrested in Milwaukee for the murder of her husband’s ex-wife. Though the evidence was circumstantial and none of it implicated Miss Bembenek directly or exclusively, she was sentenced to life in prison. Her husband, who had expressed resentment over having to support his ex-wife, sought a divorce soon after his wife’s conviction. ”Dear Lawrencia,” he wrote to her. ”Goodbye. Good luck – Fred.” Read More »

James Benning – Deseret (1995)

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Quote:
Deseret
Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum
From the Chicago Reader
One of the best films of James Benning, one of this country’s leading experimental filmmakers, is this multifaceted look at the landscape and history of Utah (or Deseret, as the Mormon Church prefers to call it). Benning condenses 93 news stories from the New York Times from 1852 to 1992 (read offscreen by Fred Gardner) and sets them against contemporary Utah landscapes, the shots changing with each sentence. Benning’s eye for evocative beauty is as sharp as ever, and his complex invitation to the viewer to create a narrative space between his separate elements keeps this 1995 film continually fascinating. 82 min. Read More »