Stan Brakhage

Stan Brakhage – 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II (1978)

The Songs are a cycle of silent color 8mm films by the American experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage produced from 1964 to 1969. They are seen as one of Brakhage’s major works and include the feature-length 23rd Psalm Branch, considered by some to be one of the filmmaker’s masterworks and described by film historian P. Adams Sitney as “an apocalypse of imagination.” One of the filmmaker’s most overtly political films, 23rd Psalm Branch is often interpreted as being Brakhage’s reaction to the Vietnam War. Read More »

Stan Brakhage – 23rd Psalm Branch: Part I (1967)

An experimental film with various flashing lights, colors, and World War II footage. This is part of the Song series by Stan Brakhage. Read More »

Stan Brakhage – Blue Moses (1962)

From Amos Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art:
One of the very few Brakhage films to have a plot and be acted, this bitter and wise polemic pits an actor who constantly confesses his role against an unseen audience. He sarcastically mocks our belief in filmic truth, disclaiming the omnipotence we ascribe to him and the director and insists on the falsehood and artificiality of the art work. This is a very modern film of ambiguity, mixed tenses, skepticism, and ultimately, anguish at the realization that the artist is both con-man and magician, impotently straining for unattainable perfection yet inevitably being taken seriously by an audience panting to be duped. Read More »

Robert Gardner – Screening Room: Stan Brakhage (1973 – 1980)

The Experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage first appeared on Screening Room in May, 1973 to screen and discuss the films Eye Myth, Desist Film, Moth Light, and Blue Moses. Screening Room was a Boston television series that for almost ten years offered independent filmmakers a chance to show and discuss their work on a commercial (ABC-TV) television station. The series was developed and hosted by the filmmaker Robert Gardner who was Chairman of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and Director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University for many years. This unique television series explored genres which are rarely found on broadcast television including, animation, documentary, and experimental films. Read More »

Stan Brakhage – Dog Star Man (1962-1964)

Finally reunited, Stan Brakhage’s masterpiece Dog Star Man is an experimental movie without sound. A creation myth realized in light, patterns, images superimposed, rapid cutting, and silence. A black screen, then streaks of light, then an explosion of color and squiggles and happenstance. Next, images of small circles emerge then of the Sun. Images of our Earth appear, woods, a part of a body, a nude woman perhaps giving birth. Imagery evokes movement across time and space. If the movie tends sometime toward abstraction, there is still a kind of off-the-tracks narration here. Dog Star Man could be about a man, lost in mountain, struggling to survive, and as he fell the breath of death on his shoulder, remembering trough flashes his wife and son. Read More »

Stan Brakhage – The Stars Are Beautiful (1974)

Stan Brakhage’s 1974 film The Stars Are Beautiful is unusual among his works, primarily because it features a soundtrack, in the form of a narration (as well as direct sound which accompanies home-video footage of his children clipping a chicken’s wings). He wrote the voiceover himself over the course of a month or two: growing tired of the same old creation myths, he invented a new one every night – imaginative speculations on where the stars, sun, and moon came from. The film itself is not one of his strongest works but the narration is inventive, humorous, often silly, and occasionally quite stirring Read More »

Stan Brakhage – Lovemaking (1968)

One of America’s finest filmmakers tackles “lovemaking” in its many varieties (hetrosexual, homosexual as well as various animals having sex). Without a soundtrack (as the artist always thought that sound was an aesthetic error in filmmaking), the film is shot with Brakhage’s characteristic visual rhythmns. Read More »