CASTING A GLANCE / RR

In CASTING A GLANCE one artist pays tribute to another as James Benning offers his filmic paean to Robert Smithson's legendary "earthwork" sculpture, the Spiral Jetty. With RR, his homage to the American railroad, the filmmaker brings an era to its close by going back to cinema's roots. Shot back-to-back over a period of two years, these works marked James Benning's farewell to analogue filmmaking and together constitute the profound "last words" on the film medium by one of its most singular innovators. This 2-disc set presents both films together with rare audio interviews, in English, in which Benning recounts the experience of making his "last" films and gives unique insight into his creative methods.

"When I finish CASTING A GLANCE, which is supposed to show at documenta this summer, I plan to buy a DVD camera and start a new career. No more 16mm filmmaking: tha lab work is too stressful, and projection is getting worse than terrible. I'm goiing to make small DVD works and show them to friends."

– James Benning, April 2007

 
CASTING A GLANCE (2007) —James Benning

CASTING A GLANCE (2007) —James Benning

casting-a-glance_2-2.jpg

“Much of James Benning's recent work is characterized by the depiction of landscapes through the passage of time. In RR and CASTING A GLANCE, produced simultaneously between 2005 and 2007, this approach is even more pointed: both films focus on landscape-altering figures. In the first instance it is the subject of trains, which trace the broad sweep of the American countryside; in the second it is Robert Smithson's famous "Earthwork", Spiral Jetty, which assumes a central role in Benning's intricate study of time. In both cases, the "protagonists" the train and the Jetty act as a kind of measuring device, laying bare not only a temporal becoming, but a myriad of historical and cultural connections as well [...]

 
James Benning (right) at the Österreichische Filmmuseum, Vienna  November 2007, and museum Director Alexander Horwath (left).

James Benning (right) at the Österreichische Filmmuseum, Vienna 
November 2007, and museum Director Alexander Horwath (left).

Many of the shots featured in RR were recorded during the sixteen trips that Benning made to the Spiral Jetty, at the northeast of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. In April 1970, the artist Robert Smithson had created a spiral-shaped, 1500 ft. long, 15 ft. wide tongue of land, describing it as "an immobile cyclone," a "slumbering earthquake in the midst of a surging stillness." Within a few years, however, the water level rose, submerging the stone spiral. It was only 30 years later, in 2004, that the work resurfaced, and since then, depending on the snowmelt of the surrounding mountains, it appears and disappears in turns."

– Christian Höller

 
RR (2007) — James Benning

RR (2007) — James Benning

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

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CASTING A GLANCE
(US, 2007) 

Director: James Benning 
Producer, cinematographer, editor: James Benning
Location: The Spiral Jetty on Rozel Point in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, In Memory of Robert Smithson (1938-1973) 

• 77 minutes
• 16mm 
• Color 
• Sound 

     _________________________________________

RR
(US / Germany, 2007)

Director: James Benning 
Producer, cinematographer, editor: James Benning
Co-Producer: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Köln
Executive Producer: Reinhard Wulf
Location: Alabama, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, West Virginia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming 

• 107 minutes
• 16mm
• Color 
• Sound 

     _________________________________________
     _________________________________________

Bonus Material

JAMES BENNING: CASTING A GLANCE AT CASTING A GLANCE 
(2007/2012) 

• 17 minutes
• Audio only. English.
• Extracts from Q&A sessions with James Benning held at the Austrian Film Museum on November 1, 2007, the opening day of his complete retrospective. 

James Benning: RR - JB - QA
(2007/2012) 

• 19 minutes
• Audio only. English.
• Extracts from Q&A sessions with James Benning held at the Austrian Film Museum following the world premiere of RR, on November 2, 2007. 

     _________________________________________
     _________________________________________

Total Running Time: 03:39:41 (2 Discs)

Language: English. German subtitles (Disc 2 only)

Booklet Text: James Benning, Christian Höller, Oliver Hanley & Alexander Horwath (Bilingual German & English)

Published By: Edition Filmmuseum

Institutional Price: $300 (plus shipping).

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.