Scratching on spit-softened emulsion with bare fingernails, Stan completed this work — all that he could manage of his long dreamed-of Chinese Series — in his bed, a couple of months before his death. Printed by Courtney Hoskins, who has written that: "On the negative, it seemed to have the essence of Chinese characters — “strokes” and blocks, etc. In motion, it seems almost like running through a humid bamboo forest . . . green and yellow stalks create these glowing shadows as they cut across the sunlight." —Canyon Cinema
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
Coming so close as this film did to Brakhage's death, I can't help but see it as his final say on life and mortality.
I thought some of shapes resembled Chinese characters in motion, though this wasn't as obvious in a lot of places, so I can see where you're coming from. I found it to be more of an abstract animation of Chinese symbols scattering wildly across the screen personally; but, as with all things, to each their own. Glad you found it enjoyable, though. =)