Scenes From Under Childhood, Section One (1967)
Looks like one of those Brakhage films where he tries to retrain the eye to remember seeing before object recognition, or some such thing, since there’s lots of blackness, then all red, blurry funhouse-mirror images before they finally coagulate into family life and portraits of children. I kept the iTunes music off since Criterion listed the audio as “silent/monaural” but don’t recall hearing anything.
Yup, the Criterion notes say this film “begins Brakhage’s major investigation into stages of consciousness”
The Machine of Eden (1970)
Landscapes and clouds, with zooms and time-lapse, made ominous by Coil’s “Escalation”
Star Garden (1974)
A bit more time lapse, a few more skies, but mostly domestic life: children in a house/cabin, doing things inside and outside, what things exactly it’s hard to tell. Side 2 of Animal Collective’s “Here Comes The Indian” wasn’t the best soundtrack choice.
This was my favorite of the bunch. Defocused(?) reds and browns, sunsets – apocalyptic – with a crazy final shot. Faith No More’s “The Real Thing / Underwater Love” worked surprisingly well.
These films denaturalize our vision, positing the most basic rules and habits of the optical world as mere conveniences … Watching any Brakhage film will demonstrate how absolutely “tutored” our seeing really is. We focus on the object, but blind ourselves to its flickering shadow. We count the hours of daylight with the clock on the wall, but we ignore the gradual shifts in color temperature on our walls and through our curtains, the deep hash-marks of negative space in our pets’ fur near dusk or the way that a photo of a loved one becomes eerily elongated when we catch a glimpse of it from the side. Most of the time, we use our eyes to look at things, so we can take them, or throw them away, or avoid bumping into them. In Stan Brakhage’s films, we use our eyes to see, without demand or expectation, so that the surfaces of the world become a renewable resource.