The Rare Event

Shot in a creaky, wooden-floored Parisian recording studio at an inaugural three-day “forum of ideas” focusing on the manifold possibilities of “Resistance” (the title of Jean-François Lyotard’s unrealized follow-up exhibition to his 1983 “Les Immateriaux”), occasional collaborators Ben Rivers and Ben Russell have produced what initially appears to be a structuralist document of a philosophical discussion in-the-round. This “appearance dimension” is deceptive, of course, and with the aid of an immersive 5.1 sound-mix, a Green Man, a Green-Man-shaped-Infinite-Void, a dose of kinetic digital magic (courtesy of US-based artist Peter Burr), and an impressive cast of thinkers, critics, curators, and artists, a document of Resistance slowly transforms into The Rare Event – a portal that joins all dimensions into one.
by Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
with Tuomo Tuovinen, Etienne Balibar, Federico Campagna, Manthia Diawara, Timothy Morton, Jean-Luc Nancy, Elizabeth Povinelli, Gayatri Spivak, Dorothea Van Hantelman
Switzerland / France / United Kingdom 2018 English, French 48’ Colour Documentary form


  • Tuomo Tuovinen (Green Man)
  • Etienne Balibar
  • Federico Campagna
  • Manthia Diawara
  • Timothy Morton
  • Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Elizabeth Povinelli
  • Gayatri Spivak
  • Dorothea Van Hantelman


Directors Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
Cinematography Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
Editing Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
Sound Design Philippe Ciompi
Sound Philippe Ciompi
Producers Luz Gyalui, Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
Commissioned by LUMA Foundation

Produced by

Luma Foundation

Ben Rivers

Ben Rivers, born in 1972, is an award-winning artist and filmmaker. His films have been exhibited worldwide at numerous galleries and festivals. Between 1995 and 2005 he co-programmed the Brighton Cinematheque. He is currently a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. After A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013) this is his second collaboration with Ben Russell.


2003 Old Dark House 2004 We The People 2005 The Hyrcynium Wood · The Bomb with a Man in his Shoe 2006 This Is My Land · Astika · The Coming Race · Terror! 2007 Dove Coup · House 2008 Ah, Liberty! · Sørdal · Origin of the Species · A World Rattled Of Habit 2009 May Tomorrow Shine The Brightest Of All Your Many Days As It Will Be Your Last · I Know Where I’m Going 2010 Slow Action 2011 Sack Barrow · Two Years At Sea 2012 The Creation As We Saw It · Phantoms of a Libertine 2013 A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness; 96 min., with Ben Russell 2014 Things 2015 A Distant Episode · The Sky Trembles and The Earth is Afraid and The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers · What Means Something · There Is A Happy Land Further Awaay 2016 The Hunchback; 29 min., with Gabriel Abrantes · The Shape of Things · Urth 2018 The Rare Event

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018

Ben Russell

Ben Russell, born in 1976 in the USA, is an artist and filmmaker currently living in Los Angeles. His work’s focus lies at the intersection of ethnography and psychedelia. He has received several grants; his work has been awarded and exhibited worldwide. He is co-founder and curator of the Magic Lantern Cinema in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2012 Forum Expanded presented Austerity Measures, his collaboration with Guillaume Cailleau about the Exarchia district of Athens.


2000 Daumë 2002 Terra Incognita 2004 Extra Terrestrial; with Robert Rhyne 2005 The Red and the Blue Gods 2008 Tjúba Tén/ The Wet Season; with Brigid McCaffrey 2009 Let Each One Go Where He May 2010 Trypps #1-7 2011 River Rites · Austerity Measures; 8 min., Forum Expanded 2012, with Guillaume Cailleau 2012 Ponce de León; with Jim Drain 2013 Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget · A Spell to Ward off the Darkness; with Ben Rivers 2014 Atlantis 2015 Greetings to the Ancestors · YOLO 2016 He Who Eats Children 2018 The Rare Event

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018