At 80 minutes, this is an unusually long work by the seminal avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage, who died in 2003 at the age of 70. Made in 1991, it attempts to evoke the childhood landscape of Brakhage’s second wife, Marilyn, a native of British Columbia. The film is a dance (to no sound — Brakhage believed that the images should provide their own rhythm) between two broad sets of images: those which evoke a composed, tamed nature (like the opening shot of a red flower blooming before a field of garden shrubbery), and nature in its more powerful, primal state (images of the waves and water surrounding a Vancouver island). It’s a beautiful, densely allusive and ultimately elusive film, as determinedly difficult as any passage in modern poetry (Brakhage’s most profound influences would seem to be Eliot and Pound, rather than any artists from the film world). For filmgoers looking for an escape from the tyranny of narration, here is a ravishing experience. —Dave Kehr, The New York Times
James Stanley Brakhage (January 14, 1933 – March 9, 2003), better known as Stan Brakhage, was an American non-narrative filmmaker who is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th century experimental film.
Over the course of five decades, Brakhage created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a variety of formats, approaches and techniques that included handheld camerawork, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting, in-camera editing, scratching on film and the use of multiple exposures. Interested in mythology and inspired by music, poetry and visual phenomena, Brakhage sought to reveal the universal in the particular, exploring themes of birth, mortality, sexuality and innocence.
Brakhage’s films are often noted for their expressiveness and lyricism.
Born Robert Sanders in Kansas City, Missouri on June 14, 1933, Brakhage was adopted and renamed three weeks after his birth by Ludwig and Clara Brakhage.
As a child, Brakhage was… read more