Wavelengths 2: Twenty Cigarettes  [2011]
Twenty Cigarettes
DirectorJames Benning
CastThom Andersen, Sharon Lockhart
In James Benning’s Twenty Cigarettes(USA), a pack of twenty cigarettes is consumed by twenty different smokers – friends and acquaintances from Montreal to Seoul. Ostensibly a film about duration, Twenty Cigarettes is structured around the time it takes to smoke a ciga­rette, and we observe the subjects from the moment they light up until they butt out, with a few surprises along the way. These living, smoking peo­ple offer glimpses into their lives as Benning records them amid familiar surroundings. While each background offers clues to their respective stories, it is their distinct relation­ships with the camera, their faces and their gazes, that make this film so compelling. The film includes fellow avant-garde icons Thom Andersen (whose Get out of the Car was featured in last year’s Wavelengths programme), looking bored and slightly enervated, and photog­rapher/filmmaker Sharon Lockhart cast as a wistful western settler amid an open blue sky.

“WAVELENGTHS 2:  TWENTY CIGARETTES” (2011 presentation)
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