Here is one of the most famous avant-garde directors of the late 60s/early 70s, listed in his bio as a peer of Snow and Frampton, who are just as hard to find on home video (Snow because of his demand that his films be seen in a cinema, Frampton because of only Nostalgia being on DVD until April 24th’s Criterion release of only about half his films), popular enough to get Deseret into the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book… and yet he has no home video releases except American Dreams and Landscape Suicide in Germany (http://www.edition-filmmuseum.com/product_info.php/info/p133_American-Dreams—lost-and-found——Landscape-Suicide.html) for 29.95 Euros.
Benning is one of a few arthouse and experimental directors who uses Facebook, along with Swanberg, Guerin, Hellman, possibly Godard, Russell before his death, and Diaz through his assistant. I added him on impulse despite not seeing any of his films. After sending off a message to Diaz’s assistant today about buying some of his films on DVD-R, and decided to fire one off to Benning about the same.
I’ve not gotten a response yet, but I’m wondering why he has not had more home video releases. Does he, like Snow, not want his films released on DVD? And, were he to respond with an affirmative answer, which films is he most likely to have in a digital copy. Also, how come quite a few of his films (20 of 24) are available for download on KG? Screeners? Digital copies of the film prints?
Anyway, hopefully this will be a success and I can get ahold of some great avant-garde rarities by Benning without hurting my KG ratio and with a little money going to his pocket.
Actually, Benning made a brief appearance on Mubi about a year ago. Here’s his account: http://mubi.com/users/190382. It’s clear that he’d very much prefer you see his work in the theater.
“sorry, it took me 7 months to find this– raining today so rather than doing long division problems i decided to look around the web. you people are crazy. go for a walk. hunts some rabbits. or surf YouPorn. don’t waist your time looking at films that weren’t meant for the internet, it’s like going to the Met with a good covering of vaseline on your sunglasses; but anyway, thanks for considering Ten Skies and thanks to those who now want to see my work for real. hats off to David Lynch, i wish his career well, a real feather in his cap!”
Hmm. It indicates that, like Lynch, he doesn’t want people to see his work on a computer. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t want it to be seen on an HDTV. Will note this in the correspondence.
If he replies, I’d love an update.
“the only DVD’s available right now are found on the Austrian Film Museum webpage… j”
It was worth a shot.
The double DVD from the Austrian Film Museum is actually the first part of a series “devoted to the filmmaker’s oeuvre”. In June they finally will release a new part. This time they will be giving us RR and Casting a glance, two films which in their words “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.”
So yeah, excitement galore. Can’t wait.
Thanks for the heads up, Gondo.
Great news again for everyone interested in Benning. The Austrian Film Museum will release Bennings California Trilogy (consisting of El Valley Centro, Los and Sogobi) this December. This will be the third (and hopefully not last) part in their Benning-Series.