Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 7:30pm
James Benning's 11 x 14

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

11 x 14
James Benning, 16mm, 1976, 83 mins
Introduced by Julie Ault

“When I made 11 x 14, finally I thought I had something to say: I think that’s when I really became a filmmaker.”

- James Benning

One of James Benning’s major early works, 11 x 14 grew out of his earlier 8 1/2 x 11 (1974). Exactly a third of the latter film’s shots are re-used in 11 x 14, expanding the original set of central characters from three to four, and increasing the interwoven, elliptical storylines from two to three: a young lesbian couple travelling across the Midwest, a married man who may be having an affair, and another man who’s hitchhiking while looking for work. Benning’s goal, as he puts it, was “to construct a narrative that would destroy a narrative that already existed.” The film moves forward through a series of precisely composed single-shot sequences, mostly static and yet sensually rich, interspersed with punctuations of black leader. Each sequence refigures fundamentals of cinematic form, whether playing with sound-image relations, displacing action into offscreen space, or introducing apparent doppelgangers into the cast.

“I wanted to develop, out of their juxtaposition in a particular way, a non-linear reading of the film as a whole, or what I call ‘spherical space.’ I try to introduce various visual or audial motifs which recur in shots widely separated in the film,” Benning has said. “By the time the film is finished, it will have been possible to relate shots in a number of different ways. This sort of cross-referencing is what I mean by ‘spherical space.’” Or, as Benning has offered elsewhere: “Hopefully, the film teaches you how to watch the film.”

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.