A film which defies comparison.
I cannot say I am a "fan" of this film but I have to give it five stars, simply for its power, intensity and audaciousness. Perhaps the most brilliant thing about this silent documentary - and arguably the most difficult thing to accept - is that it portrays human beings as not some superior walk of life, but as mere flesh and bone. This film left an impression like scar tissue.
Never before have I seen a film that was so obviously brilliant, but left me never wanting to see it ever again. I probably will of course, but nonetheless--few films balance the dizzyingly surreal and bluntly realistic in such an extraordinary manner.
I'm strongly divided on this. Although I praised Stan Brakhage's cinematic achievement, this film just felt unethical. These procedures aren't meant for public consumption, even to shock the audience. At least no faces were shown.
Though I felt the film was shocking, disturbing and upsetting, the remarks on the DVD were very insightful and justified the film, at least for Brakhage. Definitely not my favorite film of his, but I wouldn't go so far as to call this a "torture" movie. I think a lot of Brakhage's charm comes from his capturing of every day life from a multitude of perspectives, not only the romantic perspective.
We're meat and bones, either dead or alive. We'll all go through this one day. The body in the frame is interestingly shown, and puting the legists and the corpses under the same view gives a great emphasis on the body as a form on itself. Horrifying at first, it then became a meditation on the body with formal poetry ; because the body opens like a flower on a legist table.
Autopsy: From the Greek, autopsis; autos (self) + opsis (a sight/something seen). The act of seeing with one's own eyes. Who'd have thought that 32 minutes of silent post-mortems would make for the most profoundly revealing introspective, philosophical, even spiritual experience I've ever had watching a film? The Greeks, I guess... Extraordinary. I'm indebted to Brakhage.
8 - Man as material, but that which we are, we are. One of the very few films that doesn't sugar-coat death, and consequently one of the most sincere, while remaining respectful. Thank God they haven't invented smellevision yet.
What separates us from other animals? As one can acknowledge here, the difference seems to lie only in our brains, hyper-evolved in comparison, whose butchering is also shown. This is a film so powerful that any remaining anthropocentric fool who happens to stumble upon it will be at least partially changed. We are nothing but bags of meat, Brakhage reminds us. Just like any other mammal.