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Directed by James Benning

United States 2007 111 mins. In English

“Looping, chugging, and barreling by, the trains in Benning’s monumental film map a stunning topography and a history of American development. RR comes three decades after Benning and Bette Gordon made THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (1975), a cinematic journey along the country’s interstates that is keenly aware ‘of superhighways and railroad tracks as American public symbols.’ A political essay responding to the economic histories of trains as instruments in a culture of hyper-consumption, RR articulates its concern most explicitly when Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex speech is heard as a mile-long coal train passes through eastern Wyoming. Benning spent two and a half years collecting two hundred and sixteen shots of trains, forty-three of which appear in RR. The locomotives’ varying colors, speeds, vectors, and reverberations are charged with visual thrills, romance, and a nostalgia heightened by Benning’s declaration that this [was] his last work in 16mm film.”—Harvard Film Archive.