Stan Brakhage: A Retrospective


Location: Plitt's Century Plaza Theaters ABC Entertainment Center, Century City

Page Contents


WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING, PRELUDE: DOG STAR MAN, FIRE OF WATERS, THE HORSEMAN, THE WOMEN AND THE MOTH, THE WORLD-SHADOW, SKEIN, STAR GARDEN and SEXUAL MEDITATION: OPEN FIELD also screened. Coordinated by Eric Sherman, programming assistance by David Grosz and Fred Camper. Stan Brakhage is one of the most prolific and certainly of the greatest of all 'experimental' filmmakers. As the title of his early magnum opus tells us, his main concern is with 'the art of vision.' To experience his films fully, one's visual sense is reeducated. The objects, colors, shapes, patterns, and textures of the everyday world are examined, reexamined, altered, rejected, and finally, assimilated- thus expanding our sense of what the world of seeing is all about. Brakhage takes as his subject no less than the universe as it is, as he sees it. He grapples with it, attacks it, retreats from it, succumbs to it, seduces it back into his own personal fold. He never quite conquers it- but comes to some sort of terms with it. His images are among the most erotic in world cinema- true Eros: love, desire. He desires to know- a color, a shape. His red is Red. His Red is God's, his wife's, his child's, his dog's, his own. To see the sea of color and texture overwhelm the horseman (in The Horseman, The Woman and the Moth) is to learn what the horseman is constituted. What constitutes him is what destroys him, creates him- defines him. A Brakhage film, if attended to with the love and energy that went into its creation, may serve as an entrance into areas of perception at once incredibly complex, yet also evocative of the childlike, almost na•ve, purity which we, as adults, lose as our survival codifications, increase geometrically with age and 'normal' experience. To experience a Brakhage film is to be opened up to the areas of world-knowledge and self knowledge that are primal in thrust. His films reek of birth and death- of the eye, the The Filmex retrospective offers us, in highly concentrated form, 26 Brakhage films, 26 results of the interplay between his nervous system and the universe encompassing it. As Hopkins' 'Golden Echo' invokes, Brakhage certainly has 'give(n) beauty back, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver' - Eric Sherman [Source: Los Angeles International Film Exposition Program Notes, 1976]