The Institute Benjamenta (1996)
as Lisa Benjamenta
as Jakob von Gunten
as Johannes Benjamenta
Critic Reviews for The Institute Benjamenta
an abstract, uncanny experience which, like any good servant, is far too tactful just to blurt out its masters' secrets.
Audience Reviews for The Institute Benjamenta
Thinking he has no important calling in life, an ambitionless man enrolls in a school that trains servants; once there, he enters into an ambiguous, sexually repressed relationship with the headmistress and her brother. A beautiful looking black and white film that deliberately uses shallow focus and overexposure to tremendous artistic effect, though the sludgy, slow and surreal plot will turn the average moviegoer off.
Is our identity at stake in the civilized world? This film's story follows Jakob, a new student at the servant school, Institute Benjamenta, and the principal and principaless of that school who love him, Herr and Lisa Benjamenta. Lots of fascinating allusions and images: light---Jakob says, "Why can't there be light in light, but only in dark?" and the scenes outside of his room are filled with beams of spotlights in otherwise dark rooms, whereas Lisa says (in reference to herself) "it burns in the sun, that which does not know the hot gusts of life"; nature---Lisa carries a deer hoof pointing stick with her that she uses to indicate sexual preference and without which she suddenly dies, and the room of Jakob and Lisa's affair is littered with pine cones; desire---when she decides to die, Lisa tells Jakob, "Isn't it beautiful not to want anything anymore?" and Jakob responds, "From then on, it was always evening." The movie opened with Jakob saying he would do whatever was asked of him without preference. He did give in, in the end, to the will of Lisa's brother (Herr Benjamenta) after her death, but doing this caused "eternal snow," indicating the completion of Jakob's training. Jakob became a true servant of civilization by giving up on the light, giving into the darkness of repetition and the absence of desire. (posted to http://www.philmosophy.com April 27, 2009)
A beautiful, complex work that's more easily enjoyed in hindsight. This is a A one-of-a-kind education in creative filmmaking.
The Institute Benjamenta Quotes
There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.
Discuss The Institute Benjamenta on our Movie forum!