1971-1980ExperimentalShort FilmStan BrakhageUSA

Stan Brakhage – The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971)

Forensic pathologists perform autopsies. The first two consist of examination, measurement, and checking muscles. The remaining ones involve cutting away bone to expose and examine internal organs, peeling back skin and muscle, removing organs, using syringes to extract bodily fluids, and cutting pieces of tissue. Clothes are inventoried. As each autopsy ends, bodies are covered with sheets. There is no soundtrack. We see a body with extensive burns. The hands and trunks of the pathologists appear; sometimes we see them holding the microphone of a tape recorder. The work is sometimes delicate, sometimes not; it’s often bloody. We are form and meat.

1.46GB | 31mn 54s | 960×720 | mkv



One Comment

  1. While it’s more formally accessible (maybe not as accessible in terms of content and subject matter…), I always recommend to friends who have never seen a Brakhage film to NOT start with “The Act of Seeing…”. While it’s an amazing work, it’s really an anomaly in his oeuvre (same as “Mothlight”) and gives people a really biased view of what to expect from his other films. As a result, they’re usually let down.

    As for what I recommend for “Intro to Brakhage”, it’s usually “Dog Star Man” or “Kindering”, followed by one of his later painted works. I think those are pretty accessible (and in the case of “Kindering”, short) and represent his overall style and themes well. Don’t get me wrong, I love “Act of Seeing…” (which after multiple viewings still terrifies me more than any horror film I’ve ever watched); it’s just not a good entry point (no pun intended) for those new to his work.

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