Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream That One Calls Human Life
Jakob arrives at the Institute Benjamenta (run by brother and sister Johannes and Lisa Benjamenta) to learn to become a servant. With seven other men, he studies under Lisa: absurd lessons of movement, drawing circles, and servility. He asks for a better room. No other students arrive and none leave for employment. Johannes is unhappy, imperious, and detached from the school's operation. Lisa is beautiful, at first tightly controlled, then on the verge of breakdown. There's a whiff of incest. Jakob is drawn to Lisa, and perhaps she to him. As winter sets in, she becomes catatonic. Things get worse; Johannes notes that all this has happened since Jakob came. Is there any cause and effect?
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Watched this after I got interested in the Brothers Quay because of the music videos for Tool. I think I like their short films better. It was hard to stay awake during this one.
Atavistic, abstract, and artfully shot. Slow and ponderous. Its imagery and oddness are interesting. I did find that some parts lingered for too long, and compelled me to take a couple breaks while watching it. It is a film that I thought was good, had compelling elements, but I can't say I enjoyed watching.