Using experimental narrative structure as his vehicle, Benning recreates the sensationalized and controversial circumstances surrounding Lorencia Bembenek, aka “Bambi”, former “Playboy bunny” turned cop, turned accused and convicted killer who disappeared after a daring escape from prison. The film shows the evolution of Benning’s and Bembenek’s relationship presented through their actual letters read in voice over which depict the filmmaker’s curiosity with the subject as it evolves from intrigue to a love obsession. —IMDb
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