2011-2020Ben RiversDocumentaryExperimentalUnited Kingdom

Ben Rivers – Ghost Strata (2019)

Ben Rivers’ films tend to look outward at the larger world. GHOST STRATA is no exception. But to a somewhat different extent, it also looks in. A film diary, it reflects his globetrotting ways, existing in the margins of his otherwise outward-bound filmmaking style. So landscape plays a huge role, and in fact the film takes its title from a geological concept. As a scientist explains in the film, “ghost strata” are theoretical layers of time. When you see the strata of sedimentary rock, you are given to understand that the space around that rock, the very space you occupy, was once filled with earth as well. Rivers composes the film as a calendar, with 12 sections, one for each month of the year of its making. Across the running time of GHOST STRATA, Rivers’ travels are summed up in sometimes small, metonymic ways: a sunset over a mountain, a set of photos of a trashed dormitory space, a group of hands in close-up dislodging objects from the mud of tide pools. As a counterpoint to these scenes, Rivers layers in audio clips of poems or shows us outtakes of his own films. One gets the sense that these are half-formed memories, a bit like Kristen Johnson’s CAMERAPERSON or Thomas Heise’s MATERIAL, experiences that could have become films in themselves but didn’t, or snapshots too precious to burden with the weight of a beginning or an ending. (Michael Sicinski)

4.55B | 55m 56s | 1440×1080 | mkv



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