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Smoke billowing from a smokestack.
March 4, 2022 - 7:30 pm
filmmaker James Benning, curator Steve Anker.



James Benning, one of the most fascinating figures in American independent cinema, makes his eagerly awaited entrance into the digital realm with absolutely stunning effect. Ruhr—which is also the first film Benning has shot entirely outside the United States—is a meditation on the notion of terra incognita. Faced with the unfamiliar landscape of Germany’s Ruhr Valley, the cradle of heavy industry in that country, and a new medium, he turns the film into a process of slow discovery. As Benning uses HD to continue his exploration of duration in seven masterfully composed shots, minute events and nuances of changing light suggest a complex balance between permanence and mutation in the Ruhr’s industrial landscapes, marked, not least, with the ubiquitous presence of immigrant labor.

Bérénice Reynaud, REDCAT

Digital, color, sound, 121 min. Director: James Benning.