16 March 2013 | runamokprods
Captivating experimental film-making
In the 2nd part of his "California Trilogy" Benning once again employs the exact same for as his earlier "El Valley Centro"; 35 two and a half minute long static shots, often symmetrically framed, only this time they give a portrait of the Los Angeles region instead of the Central Valley.
While there are some very strong images here, and some interesting juxtapositions (desert to skyscrapers, etc.) reminding one just how oddly topically diverse and physically huge Los Angeles is, it lacked the feel of a unifying theme that made "El Valley Centro" so engaging. Also, while some images are truly striking, others felt less so, whereas in the earlier film, almost every image had a resonance for me.
Still, Benning is amazing in his ability to make this kind of highly regimented and experimental work feel alive and far from a chore to sit through. If the words "experimental film" make you want to run the other way, Benning may be the film-maker to change your mind.