Set in a dream-like world where fantasy frequently collides with reality, this film narrates through our protagonist Jakob played by Mark Rylancethe tale of a school for the training of servants, Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta by siblings Lisa and Herr Benjamenta played by Alice Krige and Gottfried Johnwhose curriculum constitutes the Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta repetition of each single lesson meticulously until honed to perfection.
Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta vary from arranging cutlery on dining tables to saying the right words in domestic situations and adopting a servile tone to converse with prospective employers. The film begins with Jakob's entry into the institute and enrollment.
As it progresses with his training and subsequent involvement with the other students of the Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta and with Lisa and Herr Benjamenta, he witnesses the school's slow dis- integration and eventual demise.
There isn't much of a script here and the Brothers Quay's style Eddie Harris Is It In narration is very jarring and Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta. Most of the actions of the characters involved in the institute's activities seem to be with apparently no reason or motive at all. For example, Jakob is provided with a room with such a low ceiling that he cannot stand erect anywhere in the room.
Lisa seems to have a fondness for Jakob that may or may Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta be love for him and it is never made clear. The drastic actions Lisa takes towards the end comes abruptly and as a surprise to the viewers and this action was never justified by any on going proceedings until then. Is it because of the guilt she feels of her feelings toward Jakob? Or is it fear that it may elicit the consternation of her brother?
Most under-explained and puzzling is Herr Benjamenta's character and his deeds. The classes themselves are exercises in repetition and unified action, the pupils identifiable by facial characteristics but otherwise largely indistinct from one another, subservient drones operating as a Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta unthinking and obedient body at the beck and call of their bewitching instructor.
The single exception is the attentive Kraus, who appears to have a bit of Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta thing for Frau Benjamenta, who in turn may or may not be caught up in an incestuous relationship with her brother. She takes quite a shine to the nervous new inmate, granting his request for a room away from his classmates and watching him in class with Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta interest that evolves into something resembling pained longing. As her fascination with Jakob grows, his presence begins to have an disruptive affect on the stability of the Institute and the relationship between Lisa and her brother.
As this generalised synopsis and the enigmatic title doubtless suggests, Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life is definitely not one for the multiplex crowd, and the title sequence alone — an entrancing but mystifying series of indistinct, water-based monochrome imagery, elegantly drawn text, and disorientating close-ups with microscopic field-depth — should be enough to send anyone with a hair-trigger Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta Thundercat OG Ron C The Chopstars Drank artistic cinema scuttling.
But for the rest of us this serves as the stamp of its makers and a seductive appetite-whetter for things to come. For those who didn't already know, Institute Benjamenta was the live-action feature debut of Stephen and Timothy Quay, the twin brother creators of some of the most distinctive, original and imaginative animated short films this side of Jan Svankmajer.
If you're Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta to their work then there are a wealth of goodies just begging for your attention on the BFI's superb The Quay Brothers Short Films DVD set, my coverage of which provides an outline of my relationship with film surrealism and the work of the Brothers Quay.
Coming back to Benjamenta after a five-year gap, I was particularly struck by that near-unique talent the Quays have of communicating the unexpected beauty of decay and what would elsewhere be regarded as incongruous or grotesque, celebrating elements that other filmmakers go out of their way to remove or disguise. Their seeming aversion to the pristine and Amadou et Mariam Ce Nest Pas Bon JD Twitch Edit new ensures that every object and surface seems to have its own inbuilt story, and every room is a small museum of divinely mismatched Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta and fittings.
It's an element of their work that for me taps into half-lost memories of childhood, of exploring where I had been repeatedly forbidden to go, of abandoned buildings that had fallen into disrepair and been partially reclaimed and eroded by nature, littered with objects too interesting to be Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta but too infested with rot to be of any practical use. These were the secret places, the magical places, the scary places you only went to by daylight, fearful of the things that lived Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta the shadows, of the creatures you would hear but never see but that your imagination was happy to give troublesome form to.
It's somehow impossible to imagine a Quay brothers film that is set in what we would generally recognise as the modern world, if indeed they are ever located in a specific point in time or even geographical location. This fascination with sound and imagery over traditional storytelling will see some dismiss Benjamenta as a triumph of style over content, but that seems to be missing the point of a film whose style is as integral to its content as the handycam aesthetics of Cloverfieldif you'll forgive the comparison.
Our engagement to Jakob may be limited largely to eavesdropping Idrissa Soumaoro LEclipse De L IJA Le Tioko Tioko his thoughts, Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta we keenly share his disorientation and uncertainty at his surroundings through the process of experiencing it with him, a total immersion in world that once entered is nigh-on impossible to imagine ever walking away from.
Visually the film is even more striking than I remember, Willie Lane A Pine Tree Shillings Worth of Willie Lane the BFI's new high definition transfer more on that below really showcasing Nic Knowland's beautiful monochrome cinematography, which mixes semi-abstract Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta with striking formal compositions and diffused, dream-like images where a single element is brought into focus, and plays disorientating games with contrast Lech Jankowski Institute Benjamenta image sharpness.
Lech Jankowski was born in in Leszno, Poland. For five years he composed and performed the musical scores for the controversial theatre company The Theatre of the Eighth Day. The company toured Mexico and Western Europe in to wide public and critical acclaim.
Between he composed music for television documentaries and a wide range of theatrical performances in Poland. Exhibitions of his paintings were mounted in'87, '89 and ' This year his ""One Day In The Life of Eric Satie" was staged in Poland as a musical tribute to the infamous composer and labelled by the press the event of the musical season.
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