James Benning was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is an independent film maker. Over the course of his 40-year career, Benning has made over twenty-five feature-length films that have been shown in many different venues across the world.
Movies & TV shows
On Paradise Road
Filmed at Benning's home in Val Verde during the first month of the pandemic, the film is a portrait of that time.
She Dies Tomorrow
Amy is devastated by the thought that she is going to die tomorrow. Jane and Amy began strange journeys through what might be the last day of their lives after Amy was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The California Institute of Art is a portrait of an art institution. As if landscape and space could be the scenes of a crime, each image creates a tension, a constant urge to move on to the next one....
中孚 61. The Inner Truth
61. La Verdad Interior reveals the creative process behind TELEMUNDO [screened in the New Visions section], a collaborative film directed by James Benning and starring himself and Sofía Brito. It is a...
Filmed on November 21 and 22, 2018 in Valencia, California. A gibbous and full moon rising.
Birth of a Nation
This three-channel video installation by James Benning shows three scenes from David Wark Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915). The two-minute-long screen arrangement of imperceptibly moving images...
James Benning watches tv with a young woman.
A view of an Oregon farm field, observing a solar eclipse and incorporating a Leonard Cohen song.
glory is a film about the present, about America and its history of abuse.
Composed of just four shots in which Clara McHale-Ribot, Rachel Kushner, Richard Hebdige, and Simone Forti read quietly to themselves, the film offers portraits of its subjects while simultaneously se...
In 54 static shots, Benning provides a picture of the Natural History Museum in Vienna. With the exception of the first three shots, he chooses areas that are normally closed to the public: offices, s...
Coming to Terms
One day, father makes a shocking decision in a family gathering. The family disagrees with it and against him in the very beginning. However, they make up their mind to support him at the end. A portr...
A three hour shot containing light, dark, and a BNSF train in the desert.
Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater
In 1985, former oil rig worker Richard Linklater began a film screening society in Austin, Texas, that aimed to show classic art-house and experimental films to a budding community of cinephiles. Even...
A 2012 short-film, text by Theodore J. Kaczynski, made of scans of a document from an FBI Laboratory, about the danger of experiments with accelerated particles.
A new video work by American avant-garde filmmaker James Benning explores the videos of Russian activist/activist-art group Voina (“war”).
'After doing a re-make of John Cassevetes’ "Faces" , I decided to re-make another American classic, Dennis Hopper’s "Easy Rider" . "Easy Rider" interests me in two ways: its portrayal of 6...
A stunning study of real-time light changing from day to night which was filmed in a forest high up in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains
Investigating another, deeply troubling facet of rugged American individualism, James Benning gives us four landscape shots containing a painstakingly constructed replica of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s ...
One Way Boogie Woogie
In summer 2011, James Benning returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to make a third version of his seminal 1977 film 'One Way Boogie Woogie'. In 1977 he filmed 60 locations in Milwaukee’s industrial v...
The Great Gatsby in Five Minutes
The Fitzgerald classic as you've never seen it, transposed to a Los Angeles of sleek modern architecture and strip-mall foot clinics.
Celebrated for his minimal, monumental landscape studies, James Benning turns to the intimacy of the portrait in his latest film, TWENTY CIGARETTES. Referencing Warhol’s screen tests, 1930s Hollywood ...
YouTube Trilogy: 4 Songs, History, Asian Girls
Director James Benning turned his attention to phenomena of the digital world such as Web 2.0 in YouTube Trilogy, organising found material around three thematic clusters which apparently have little ...
I just a did a film with my ‘Acting Bad’ class called After Warhol, where we watched a few of the Warhol screen tests and then mimicked them. It’s not what he does but a manipulation; I got them to ac...
Lengthy static shots of various backroads, smaller interstates, quieter roads, and lonely highways.
James Benning’s "remake" of John Cassavetes’s Faces (1968) is an unexpected venture into the world of found footage filmmaking. As Benning explains, he’s reconstructed Cassavetes’s Faces in such a way...
Iron ore is super heated in a blast furnace to make pig iron, which in turn is used to produce steel. The making of steel is a continuous process. Pig iron is moved from the blast furnace to the steel...
Looping, chugging and barreling by, the trains in Benning's latest monumental film map a stunning topography and a history of American development. RR comes three decades after Benning and Bette Gordo...
casting a glance
Casting a Glance is a tribute to the American artist Robert Smithson. Between May 15 2005 and January 14 2007, I made 16 trips to the Spiral Jetty. Created in 1970, the Jetty is a 1,500-foot long spir...
The 16mm test roll for James Benning's feature-length film TEN SKIES. 74.78 is part of Mike Plante's Lunchfilm series of commissioned shorts (made for the cost of a lunch between Plante and filmmaker ...
One Way Boogie Woogie/27 Years Later
One half filmed in 1977, one half filmed 27 years later.
Many films by this master of landscape cinema are cinematic studies of specific landscapes, as is the case with SOGOBI – the Shoshonean word for "Earth" –, Benning's approach to the Californian wilder...
El Valley Centro
Master experimental filmmaker James Benning returns with this abstract documentary about California's Central Valley. Consisting of 35 shots, each over two minutes long, the film quietly portrays natu...
Except for some additional ambience, the entire sound track of this film has been taken (without permission) from: Ernesto Che Guevara, the Bolivian Journal. A film by Richard Dindo. The images were f...
James Benning's "Four Corners" uses a specific geographical location to pose larger questions about the United States. Here, the geographic and wholly imaginary place Four Corners, that favorite touri...
This is multifaceted look at the landscape and history of Utah (or Deseret, as the Mormon Church prefers to call it). Benning condenses 93 news stories from the New York Times from 1852 to 1992 (read ...
North on Evers
In NORTH ON EVERS James Benning takes the road movie seriously, making his circular trip across the U.S. a marvelously photographed, intensely felt, and disturbing portrait of contemporary America. In...
Using experimental narrative structure as his vehicle, Benning recreates the sensationalized and controversial circumstances surrounding Lorencia Bembenek, aka "Bambi", former "Playboy bunny" turned c...
Benning continues his examination of Americana in this film through the stories of two murderers. Ed Gein was a Wisconsin farmer and multiple murderer who taxidermied his victims in the 1950s. Bernade...
O Panama features a man confined to his apartment on a winter day as he suffers through an illness. Built on the polarity between hot and cold, the tedious reality of the man's sickness and the vivid ...
American Dreams (Lost and Found)
Scrolling excerpts from the diary of George Wallace's would-be assassin Arthur Bremer at screen bottom, Hank Aaron cards and ephemera from his entire career up top, and alternating audio clips of popu...
Him and Me
"Him And Me" has Benning's hallmarks: pristine cinematography, a quasi-autobiographical stance, and a minimalist structure that juxtaposes concrete realities with off-screen mysteries. This is one man...
Grand Opera: An Historical Romance
Grand Opera marks a stock-taking of Benning's work and his life, presenting a personal and artistic autobiography woven together with a series of events dealing with the historical development of the ...
11 x 14
65 shots making up a cryptically alluded-to narrative: a lesbian couple's Midwest travels, a hitchhiking young man's journeys, the story of a man who may be having an affair.
One Way Boogie Woogie
Sixty one-minute shots with no camera movement. This tension between painterly and cinematic space is not only experienced as an intellectual contrast but is also felt as a dialectic between permanenc...
In three virtuosic sequences created entirely in-camera, Benning alternates contrary camera movements in a trio of Chicago locations with increasing rapidity to a point where they first fracture and t...
The United States of America
A conceptual bicentennial film dealing with spatial and temporal relationships between two travelers, their car, and the geographic, political, and social changes from NY to Los Angeles.
Intercourse between two people who never appear on the screen at the same time. An exploration of sex and male/female identities.
A narrative film concerning an investigation of two women in time and space, to the point where the investigation becomes the narrative.
8½ x 11
"Benning's landscape works, with their meticulous, reverential compositions, have been located in the history of American realist painting and photography, and also belong to the tradition of American...
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "James_Benning_(film_director)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.