James Benning, one of the most fascinating figures in American independent cinema, makes his eagerly awaited entrance into HD with absolutely stunning effect. Ruhr—which is also the first film Benning has shot entirely outside the United States—is a meditation on the notion of terra incognita. Faced with a new medium and the unfamiliar landscape of Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley, he turns the film into a process of slow discovery. Ruhr explores duration in a series of masterfully composed shots: a stark grey concrete tunnel with zigzagging light, a factory where steel tubes hypnotically jostle across the frame, the blasting of graffiti from a Richard Serra sculpture, and trees outlying the Düsseldorf airport, as if kneeling in a mosque. The final shot of a monolithic tower belching billows of steam to the sound of a siren invites a host of associations, from Warhol to contemporary catastrophes. Rigorous, radical, and frighteningly beautiful, Ruhr assures its place among the cinematic industrial sublime.