Thursday, April 17, 2008

Work of Stan Brakhage

Desistfilm (1954)
Rating: 8.7

Brakhage combines his love of French surrealism with his affinity for Italian neorealism as he captures the paranoia and claustrophobia of the beatnik generation. Accompanied by an avant-garde musical composition, Brakhage approaches his subjects with a voyeuristic and shakily wandering camera as they drink and smoke, among various other eccentric activities such as using a mandolin as a machine gun, building a book tower, and becoming tangled in a spool of thread. At times the film resembled a surreal recreation of Reefer Madness.

Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959)
Rating: 8.2

This is an entirely silent piece that explores a newlywed couple and their interactions seen through alternating flashes of darkness and light and shots resembling polarized pornography. Brakhage plays with the absence and presence of darkness and light as our eyes are sporadically drawn to the glimpses brightness. Real objects become abstracted by the sparse and selective lighting as we try to make sense of it all.

Dog Star Man (1961-1964)
Rating: 9.6

The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)
Rating: 7.4

Named after the literal definition of "autopsy," this film cuts together actual autopsy footage shot by Brakhage himself. For thirty minutes we are confronted with death and it's physical grotesqueness face to face and in silence. The lifeless bodies of anonymous men and women are ripped open, torn apart, and moved about like lumpy masses. Gradually the film becomes more intensely graphic to the point where it became very hard for me to continue watching, but left me with many questions. Are men meant to pry into the secrets of the internal body? should the body be considered a sacred object or is it just a temporary vessel? Who were these people, and is the autopsy and our viewing of this a form of trespassing?

Cat's Cradle (1959)
Rating: 7.2

Window Water Baby Moving (1962)
Rating: 8.7

Mothlight (1963)
Rating: 9.7

Eye Myth (1967)
Rating: 7.8

video here

The Wold Shadow (1972)
Rating: 6.4

The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981)
Rating: 8.3

The Stars Are Beautiful (1974)
Rating: 4.4

Rating: 7.5

I...Dreaming (1988)
Rating: 7.5

The Dante Quartet (1987)
Rating: 9.3

Night Music (1986)
Rating: 7.1

Rage Net (1988)
Rating: 8.1

Glaze of Cathexis (1990)
Rating: 7.4

Delicacies of Molton Horror Synapse (1991)
Rating: 8.7

Untitled (For Marilyn) (1992)
Rating: 8.6

Black Ice (1994)
Rating: 8.9

Study in Color and Black and White (1993)
Rating: 5.2

Rating: 9.2

Crack Glass Eulogy (1992)
Rating: 6.6

The Dark Tower
Rating: 8.3

Commingled Containers (1997)
Rating: 6.1

video here

Lovesong (2001)
Rating: 7.5

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