‘Ruhr’ is an example of contemplative slow cinema at its most exacting. Which is to say it is not for all tastes. A handful of sequence shots from a fixed cam - ranging in duration from around ten to 30 mins - of scenes of industrial and community life in the eponymous German region (two roads, a Muslim prayer meeting, a wall being cleaned, a chimney billowing smoke), the film tests one's patience. But to allow yourself to be bored – and yes, that half-hour long shot of the chimney gets to be dull – is also to surrender to the precision of the compositions and painterly texture of the HD photography, a soothingly ambient soundscape of natural and manmade noises, and sly surprises unfolding within the patient frame of James Benning’s camera.
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