Robert Kramer1991-2000DocumentaryDramaFrance

Robert Kramer – Cités de la plaine AKA Cities of the Plain (2000)

The final film from expatriate American filmmaker Robert Kramer, who died in France in 1999. Kramer and collaborators tell the somber life story of Ben. After leaving his homeland as a youth, he is greeted in France by menial jobs in industry. In time, he opens a fruit market, finds a wife, fathers a child, and has it all come crashing down when he learns his mother is in danger back home. Upon his return to France, he finds his life in ruin.
Cities of the Plain introduces viewers to an old, blind Ben and never lets go. A collective spirit infuses Kramer’s storytelling from the opening credits, during which all the people who contributed to the making are thanked in egalitarian blocks of text. Excellent sound design and crafty use of black leader plunge the viewer into the current reality of Ben, the now-blind central character whose struggles upon arriving in France and later accomplishments as an adult are portrayed in flashbacks.
No effort is made to have the trio of actors playing the three “stages” of Ben match up. Youngest Ben looks distinctly Arab, middle Ben seems part Italian or Turkish, part North African, and older Ben — whose right pupil is missing, leaving an eerie white eye in an otherwise handsome face — looks European.”Striking and luminous visuals…consistently finds beauty in otherwise banal industrial landscapes” (Variety).

1.54GB | 1h 45m | 698×426 | mkv


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