One of the most widely praised American avant-garde films in recent years, James Benning’s 1977 feature is a laconic mosaic of single-shot sequences, each offering some sort of image/sound pun or paradox.
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If "contemplari" 'aboriginally' means "to mark out the space of observation as an augur does" and the film frame provides a nearly ideal tool for spacial decoupage, then Benning's contemplative album of all-American ordinary postcards is as polysemic and discombobulating as was bird flight for ancient soothsayers. Road movie with Sapphic reliefs, 11x14 approaches movement by sedentary shots - beacons of distances and
To discover in the world signs and sounds that will deliver back its materiality and make it sensitive through cinema ways and forms - thought and its fragments - in connection with the world, that becomes an expression of itself. See the fixed long sequence-shot framing a man on a train: the two windows on his sides are two screens that transcribes the image-motion into a calligraphy.