"'Ten Skies' a companion film to 13 Lakes. It too looks at light; here, directly at its source – the sun. All ten skies were filmed from my backyard in Southern California: skies formed from weather systems, mountain land currents, wildfires, pollution, and the wind; skies as a function of landscape; the sound giving clues about the land below. Each sky is a detail selected from the whole; sometimes filled with drama, sometimes a metaphor for peace. I'm really interested in the ways the sky changes in reaction to the landscape below – how the clouds look above the mountains, over flat lands, above a forest fire, which was kind of creating its own weather system. There's this one shot where these two white clouds are in the frame and then this black cloud from behind comes up and covers the whole frame – it makes a wipe! The whole thing is very dramatic, and it's just cloud movement. All the shots end up with a dynamic quality. I never saw that before, I never had the courage. It took me fifty years to look at the sky like that! I call it 'found paintings'. I think of my landscape works now as anti-war artworks – they' re about the antithesis of war, the kind of beauty we're destroying. The 'Ten Skies' works came about because I'm thinking about what the opposite of war is." James Benning.
"One of this unique filmmaker's greatest works, and on paper, one of his most minimalist: ten shots of the sky, each lasting ten minutes. But the experience of watching – and hearing – it is fabulously rich and intense. The skyscapes are filled with life and change at the speed of light. The soundtrack creates an equally rich narrative space by way of ten short stories that are 'insinuated' without ever being 'explained.' A masterpiece. "Alexander Horwath
Producers: James Benning, Werner Dütsch
Format: 16mm, Color, without dialogue
Running time: 101 min.