J.B. #5


I always believe that any learning comes through concentration and patience, and that you have to train yourself to have that patience and to perceive. That isn't slow to me, that's hard work. It may be slow in the movement of things but it isn't slow in the stuff that's going on in your mind when you watch something for a long time and you see very minimal changes: you start to learn from that. So time is a function of becoming more intelligent, I think; you need to take time. The word 'slow' seems to belittle that process. How can you rush that?

I remember years ago when I saw a neighbourhood film with Gene Hackman, Night Moves [1975]. He's talking about an Eric Rohmer movie and says 'It's like watching paint dry', and when he said that I thought 'Oh, that's what I have to aspire to!' That's so brilliant, to make a film that would require such concentration that you would notice paint drying. And then to actually feel the way the paint dries, the way light would come off the wall in a different way when it's wet and dry: as that transformation comes I think you could learn a lot about light. I'm kind of joking, but at the same time I'm serious. That's not slow, that's hard work and learning.

--Extract from Nick Bradshaw's interview with James Benning (accompanied by a particularly unflattering profile pic) [pdf]Sight & Sound 23.10, p.49. Wonder whether Benning has seen David Gatten's The Extravagant Shadows (2012)?