In “Landscape Suicide” Benning continues his examination of Americana through the stories of two murderers. Ed Gein was a Wisconsin farmer and multiple murderer who taxidermied his victims in the 1950s.
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Disrespecting the sacred rules of cinematic naturalism and figurative realism, Benning reinvents the past with an exposed irony as a significant discourse and finds in a close study of a nature, and its social surrounding space, the taxidermy of a sick society, where the immanence of inexplicable mingles with the latency of film communication.
the landscape photography, suburban drab, pop songs and verbatim testimonies reveal the topography of murder at the kernel of banal americana. implicates the physical terrain as complicit in the acts of violence & maybe reveals murder to be the suicidal mode of choice for the psycho-geographical landscape which our nightmares bore - & longs to be rid of its bondage to us. one of my favourite films
Brutal in every sense of the word. The dehumanization of space and time - the dehumanization of cinema - by a cynical director. A structure divided in two symmetrical parts gives strong meaning to an almost abstract film since its images are disconnected by obsessive intervals (like I've never seen used to such a radical point). The result: a perverse essay about what's hidden between the images of America.
Benning gives the audience the opportunity to act as an investigator not just to analyze the killers but rather to critique the culturally specific space, which spawns certain insecurities and psychological tendencies. While memorable scenes exist in the film overall, they are diminished by ineffective juxtapositions and mediations that leave the audience just as confused as the "criminals" themselves.