James Benning – Landscape Suicide (1986)

For his career-long excavation of the American national character, James Benning found two of his most striking case studies in a pair of murderers whose crimes took place 30 years and more than half the country apart. Landscape Suicide, like many of Benning’s films, consists largely of footage of places, landscapes, and roads accompanied by—or paired with—speech. The speech, in this case, comes from the court testimonies of Bernadette Protti, who stabbed one of her California high-school classmates to death in 1984 over an insult, and Ed Gein, the infamous Plainfield, Wisconsin, killer who made trophies out of his victim’s bodies, read aloud by actors directly to the camera. Benning’s America is a country terrified equally by the wilderness to which it’s in thrall and the civilization it’s set up to keep that wilderness at bay—and nowhere in his work does that tension become more chillingly clear.

1.41GB | 1h 31mn | 688×516 | mkv



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  1. Thanks again for posting this–wonderful film, far ahead of its time.

    Any chance that you might have a copy of “Him and Me”, Benning’s film from 1982? It’s very high on my list of films I haven’t seen, but I haven’t been able to find a copy anywhere. Thank you!

  2. If you happen to have any more of Benning’s early works, could you please post them when you have the time? I’ve seen most of his mid-90s to present films, but very little of his early films (including Honeylane Road, Michigan Avenue, I-94, 8 1/2 x 11, Chicago Loop, A to B, etc.). Thank you for all of your hard work here; it’s truly appreciated!

  3. This is wonderful—I’ve never seen this film, by one of my favorite filmmakers. THANK YOU!!

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