Twenty Cigarettes

"Cigarettes" will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses.

With:
With: Sompot Chidgasornpongse, Francesca Sloane, Tedi Gentry, Thom Andersen, Stephan Pascher, Blake Derrington, Norma Turner, Fabian Vazquez Euresti, Sharon Lockhart, Dick Hebdige, Hye Sung Moon, Dave Crane, Janet Jenkins, Tanya Barber, Kelman Duran, Suzan Pitt, Jahcobie Coscom, Margaret Haines, Suzanne Dungan, Alan Reed.

Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses.

The 20 subjects seen, an equal mix of men and women, range broadly in age and ethnicity. Although some have a degree of renown already (helmer Thom Andersen, cultural studies professor Dick Hebdige), and others are just ordinary folk (bartender Tanya Barber), all are framed the same way, showing just their heads and shoulders. Sadly, this means that their hands — arguably the most expressive part of a smoker’s body — are usually out of the shot, but just watching them sitting as thoughts flit through their heads is interesting in itself. Pic would make the perfect companion to Richard Klein’s essay “Cigarettes Are Sublime,” in which he writes about how smoking is a “form of meditation … as well as a sacrament consumed.” Per the helmer, sound is slightly manipulated to vary the background noises.

Twenty Cigarettes

Production: A James Benning production. (International sales: James Benning, Valencia.) Produced, directed, edited by Benning.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Benning. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 16, 2011. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Sompot Chidgasornpongse, Francesca Sloane, Tedi Gentry, Thom Andersen, Stephan Pascher, Blake Derrington, Norma Turner, Fabian Vazquez Euresti, Sharon Lockhart, Dick Hebdige, Hye Sung Moon, Dave Crane, Janet Jenkins, Tanya Barber, Kelman Duran, Suzan Pitt, Jahcobie Coscom, Margaret Haines, Suzanne Dungan, Alan Reed.

More Film

  • Anita Hill

    Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • Warren Beatty

    Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • Oscar Isaac Addams Family

    Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated 'Addams Family' Movie

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • Hannah Marks Liana Liberato

    Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy 'Banana Split'

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • NOR_D01_053017_9621_R2 – L-R: Tom Hanks (Ben

    Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

  • Willa Fitzgerald

    'The Goldfinch' Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Compelling, if not quite addictive, James Benning’s latest, “Twenty Cigarettes,” unspools a pack’s worth of portraits of people lighting and smoking death sticks, in static single takes, evoking Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” More intimate but less mesmerizing than Benning’s similarly austere landscape films (“Ruhr,” “Los,”), “Cigarettes” will blow through avant-garde-friendly fests and rep houses. The […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content