Institute Benjamenta 1995

I don’t know when it was but it might have been during the time of self imposed sadness, the wearing of German paratrooper boots and a long coat during a summer in Dublin, but sometimes hanging around a dark abbey street and outside the original spot were the Light House cinema was and is now the arsehole of Arnotts, I did go see a film that remained in my brain for quite some time by the Quay Brothers called Institute Benjamenta which based on Waslers Jakob Von Guten was a cycle of movements, songs and stop start animation. (favourite part is the scene with Fraulien at the chalkboard) It’s a strange layered dark film about the teaching of men who aren’t worthy of the term to become better men and by the hand of the alluring Fraulien Benjamenta who sends this one man to the edge- a rare work of intensity from two inventive slightly reclusive twin American brothers who don’t comb their hair often. The have carved a reputation of being studious and excellent at their chosen work.

I couldn’t wait to see this film in all it’s glory again on a bigger screen rather than the YouTube versions and €28 later I’m reading the sleeve notes learning so much more about the story and process and couldn’t believe that my heroine Jill Furmanovsky had done all the film stills, to think I’ve had food, swapped prints and laughed with the very miss Jill- I’ve never been so proud of her, taking into consideration that there’s a great deal to be proud of.
Total surprise, funny all over.

Anyone who can get through this heavy classic without shifting in their seat is in my gang for life.

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