DESERET / FOUR CORNERS

“I could not have imagined that Benning’s fiftieth birthday [in 1992] would signal the beginning of the most remarkable era in his creative life…With the exception of Luis Buñuel and Alfred Hitchcock, I can think of no filmmakers who has blossomed so impressively so late in his career.”

– Scott MacDonald

DESERET (1995)

DESERET (1995)

In the 1990s, James Benning's films were primarily characterized by an ongoing investigation of the relationship between the image and the (spoken or written) word. This 2-disc set features the two key works representing the peak of this "text-image film" period. DESERET and FOUR CORNERS are rigorous attempts to address, engage and come to terms with the history and geography of the United States, as seen through the prism of one particular part of the country.  
The beauty of the shimmering landscapes is contrasted with darker exposés of American history.

 
DESERET (1995)

DESERET (1995)

In DESERET, Benning retells the history of America's Mormon State of Utah, by fusing more than 90 separate shots (comprising spectacular black & white and color landscape images), with a voiceover narrator quoting articles published in the New York Times between 1852 and 1992 that reference the violent struggles between Mormons, Native Americans, and the Federal Government, as well as nuclear/biological weaponry and toxic waste sites. 

 
FOUR CORNERS (1997)

FOUR CORNERS (1997)

Benning's following film FOUR CORNERS is both a tribute to the famous region in the USA where four states converge (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) and a portrait of four very different artists (impressionist pioneer Claude Monet, African-American folk artist Moses Tolliver, fictional Native-American wall-painter ‘Yukawa’, and Abstract Expressionist Jasper Johns). The voiceover narration deals with natural and man-made forces that have rent destruction upon the Native American population in this region.

 
FOUR CORNERS (1997)

FOUR CORNERS (1997)



 
 
 

  Contents

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

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DESERET
(US, 1995)

Director, writer, cinematographer, editor, producer: James Benning
Voice: Fred Gardner
Made with support from: The Rockefeller Foundation

• 78 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W, color
• Sound

     _________________________________________

FOUR CORNERS
(US, 1997)

Director, writer, cinematographer, editor, producer: James Benning
Voices: Hartmut Bitomsky, James Benning, Yeasup Song & Billy Woodberry

• 76 minutes
• 16mm
• Color
• Sound

     _________________________________________

Bonus Material

JAMES BENNING: Viennale Q&A
(Austria, 1996)

Featuring: James Benning & Kent Jones
Production Company: ZONE Media, Wien

• 15 minutes
• Betacam SP
• Color
• Sound

     _________________________________________
     _________________________________________

Total Running Time: 02:49:00 (2 Discs)

Language: English. German subtitles

Booklet Text: Neil Young (Bilingual German & English) 

Published By: Edition Filmmuseum

Institutional Price: $300 (plus shipping).

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