Tonight, I was able to grab a film from my personal pile (or, in this instance, YouTube) as that husband of mine was going or have a drink with his colleagues. Well, I’m writing this a few hours after finishing Deseret and am having the time regret of selecting the shortest film in my pile. Turns out that I could have watched that incredibly long adaptation of A Passage to India after all. Oh well, a film is a film and it made me watch one of the more esoteric films on the list.
It’s rare that, in 2019 as I write this, a film on the 1001 list is without its own Wikipedia page. But that’s the case with this 82 minutes film that, whilst officially a documentary, is more of an art piece than a cinema release. The film is made up of various shots of Utah (which was a key part of the proposed territory of Deseret) and over it are short excerpts of news stories about the history of this area. In combining the two, Benning creates a somewhat unique experience that turns these scenic shots of Utah into a living history book.
I’ll admit that my attention wasn’t always there on this film as, after a while, scenic shots with readings can get a little samey (although this was a hell of a lot more engaging than Trop tôt/trop tard) but I cannot say that this didn’t teach me a lot of interesting history. This is a land that I only know from Big Love and the paraphernalia surrounding the 2002 Winter Olympics, so to hear about the history of their statehood was fascinating to the point that I am considering having this on as a podcast when I am next playing The Sims 4.
This film is one of those cases where, whilst I wouldn’t give it the highest rating, it very much deserves its place on the list. It’s such a different cinema experience that taught me a fair bit about a subject I didn’t think I’d be interested in. Definitely not a film for everyone, but would definitely be something that everyone could listen to.