Pig Iron is a 30 minute dramatic narrative. Iron ore is super heated in a blast furnace to make pig iron, which in turn is used to produce steel. The making of steel is a continuous process. Pig iron is moved from the blast furnace to the steel plant by railroad. The trains are operated by remote control. The film has been shot at HKM Steelworks, Duisburg, Germany. I have a very simple philosophy: Go to places that I want to be in; look and listen closely; and make films that will help me better understand my place in the world. Jeonju Digital Project will allow me to explore the new possibilities of duration provided by the new digital cameras. –James Benning
James Benning’s early films fused the “structuralist” investigations into sound-image relationships of filmmakers like Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton with an interest in narrative and a deep sensitivity to color, light, and landscape. He first grabbed the attention of the avant-garde film world with 8 1/2 × 11 and 11 × 14. Filmed in vivid color in the rural and urban landscapes of his native Midwest, these two films would provide the kernel for his further investigations into film form.
His films’ rigorous structures — often based on numerical systems — and exquisitely composed shots reflect his training as a mathematician, and their frequently autobiographical subject matter draws upon his working-class roots (a rare subject for avant-garde film) and his longtime commitment to political activism.
While his earliest films are mostly concerned with form and narrative, his work in the ‘80s began to introduce both personal subject matter and documentary elements, at the… read more