A thorough viewing of the second disc of my favorite DVD set in the world this weekend. Some thoughts:
I do not know how to talk about Brakhage. Mostly on this site I talk about story, quality of performance… how do I talk about a non-narrative motion painting? Don’t have the background or vocabulary for that.
Cat’s Cradle and Window Water Baby Moving are early ones with actual camera shots of actual things. The editing of Window Water is entrancing.
Mothlight will be great forever. I’ve watched it twenty times now.
Then, chronologically, came Dog Star Man and Act Of Seeing, which I haven’t watched yet because I am afraid of them. The scariest nightmare I’ve had in a decade resulted from falling asleep during my only attempted viewing of Dog Star Man, and if Window Water is so attractive and disturbing, I can just not imagine how my stomach will feel after viewing The Act Of Seeing.
Eye Myth (a nine-second film) took a year to complete because Brakhage had to convince himself that it could be done, had never done a hand-painted film before. Mothlight was almost a decade earlier, but I guess Eye Myth was a big step. I’ve watched it a ton of times just because I can.
I’m not so wild about the visuals of The Wold Shadow (painting on glass over a view of the forest) or The Stars Are Beautiful (creation myths with shots of home and chickens with sync sound) or Kindering (kids at play), but then The Dante Quartet and Rage Net hit hard… some of my favorites of the painted films.
Black Ice and Delicacies and Study In Color are creepy. The screen shots below reveal nothing about those two. The Dark Tower is always a favorite. And I don’t remember ever seeing Commingled Containers before so I watched it three times. Can’t understand what it is, what those things are, what is happening. Something in a stream? What are “containers”? Beautiful, of course. That applies to all of the above… beautiful, beautiful, blah.
Need to read Brakhage’s book(s), to read Fred Camper’s writings, to read the DVD liner notes again and listen to the interviews with Brakhage on the discs. But I don’t expect to learn much that will gain me a deeper appreciation of the films… they need no explanation.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker were Brakhage’s students. He acted in Cannibal the Musical and loved the South Park movie. Incredible.
Katy did not watch it. I’m afraid to show her any Brakhage. What if she doesn’t love it? How will I explain or convince?
A barrage of screen shots.
Window Water Baby Moving
The Wold Shadow
The Garden of Earthly Delights
The Stars Are Beautiful
The Dante Quartet
Glaze of Cathexis
Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse
Study in Color and Black and White
Crack Glass Eulogy
The Dark Tower