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Attn Oregonians: Stan Brakhage


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted September 25 2003 - 07:38 AM

Found this in the Willamette Week:

The Northwest Film Center presents the first of two programs featuring a selection of films made by the late Stan Brakhage, the most influential experimental filmmaker of the 20th century. Spanning four decades, this retrospect offers the opportunity to view the breathtaking, phantasmagoric lyric cinema and handpainted approximations of "hypnagogic vision" of this great artist and thinker as they were meant to be seen. Desistfilm is a raucous depiction of a group of young people at a party, their drunkenness underscored by frenetic camerawork. A bold, moving piece of personal cinema, Window Water Baby Moving is a beautiful film of the birth of Brakhage's first child. Widely regarded as Brakhage's masterpiece, Dog Star Man Part 1 is an epic tale weaved from footage shot while his family was living high in the Colorado mountains. Mothlight, created by placing mothwings and flowers between two pieces of clear tape, was famously described by Brakhage as "what a moth might see from birth to death if black were white and white were black." Arabic I and II are two of a series of 19 films that Brakhage viewed as a close corollary to music. Created as a tribute to Hieronymous Bosch, J.E.H. MacDonald and Emil Nolde, The Garden of Earthly Delights collages mountain leaves and vegetation in a manner similar to Mothlight. Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde portrays the sense of terror that Brakhage felt upon filming the ruins in Mesa Verde. (Christopher Luna)

Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 28. $4-$7.


Having fallen in love with Criterion's by Brakhage collection, I'm really hoping that I'll be able to go to this, especially since it features pieces not on the DVD. If you're in the Portland area and you've got Sunday night open, you should definitely check this out.

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted September 27 2003 - 01:00 PM

*bump* this is tomorrow!

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Doug D

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Posted September 27 2003 - 04:19 PM

Also note that a second program occurs on October 12, focusing on his 90's/00's output (i.e. mostly the handpainted stuff).
An Incomplete Education - a weekly column on film I write.
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#4 of 7 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted September 28 2003 - 04:31 PM

Doug, did you go? To me, the high point was Arabic 1 and 2, which were gorgeous and very musical. Didn't care much for Visions in Meditation #2... it started out well and ended well, but the middle section didn't do anything for me. Burial Path (an unexpected surprise) was kind of ruined by someone making a lot of noise.

Really looking forward to part 2, I prefer his later work. Here's the line-up:

The Dante Quartet (105 min)
Chartres Series (9 min)
Night Mulch & Very (6 min)
Ressurectus Est (9 min)
Panels for the Walls of Heaven (35 min)
Chinese Series (2.5 min)
Stan's Window & Untitled (13 min)

Sounds awesome! Nice to see so little overlap with the DVD. I hope Criterion does a second set. I'd love to have the entire Arabic series.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Doug D

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Posted September 28 2003 - 08:38 PM

I did. I really liked BURIAL PATH an unexpected amount (considering I knew nothing of it going in), but that person making noise was the guy with the wheelchair seated right by me who decided to leave during that one. Argh. I would love to see it again without said interruption. (Or the phone ringing near the end. But honestly, at points I could even hear the second hand on watches several seats away from me, so I think no matter how quiet it got, there would always be a dominant sound.) I also really liked the first ARABIC - the second didn't do as much for me, though that's a relative statement. I'm mixed on the VISIONS IN MEDITATION #2 - I liked it in parts, but found other parts pretty taxing, and definitely didn't see it as a highlight.

I took my time getting there because I honestly wanted to avoid WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING - my tolerance for viscera is minimal, and I knew it was supposed to be second. (I thought I had seen DESISTFILM before, and I realized when I got in that I had somehow confused with some other film, and that irked me for missing most of it.) Anyway, that's my second time watching WWBM projected, and I made it all the way to the placenta this time. (The first time, I didn't even make it to the crowning!) Some day I'll get through it. (No, I haven't watched THE ACT OF SEEING THROUGH ONE'S OWN EYES yet!)

But yeah, I too prefer his later work, and I'm very looking forward to #2. But at least some of those time numbers have to be wrong, don't they? I mean, I'm pretty sure there's no way THE DANTE QUARTET is 105 minutes on the Criterion disc - his filmography lists it as being around 6. But yeah, it'll be nice to see a bunch of totally new stuff.

Out of curiosity, what did you think about seeing them projected vs. on film? I was a little surprised to realize that MOTHLIGHT was brighter on my tv than projected, but OTOH who knows if their bulb is up to snuff, either.

Quote:
I hope Criterion does a second set.


You and me both. I'm dying to see YGGDRASSIL, the ... (ELLIPSIS) films, the SONGS, the PRELUDES ... and I'd love to have BURIAL PATH and NAUGHTS and COUPLING, all of which I've seen (and the PERSIAN SERIES, which I've seen part of ... oh, who am I kidding, I'll never be content until I see them all ...).
An Incomplete Education - a weekly column on film I write.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE BEFORE - a short movie I shot.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted September 29 2003 - 03:01 AM

(No, I haven't watched THE ACT OF SEEING THROUGH ONE'S OWN EYES yet!)

I actually find it easier to watch than WWBM. It's not viscera that disturbs me as much as suffering. Of course, WWBM is a more joyful film overall.

Quote:
Out of curiosity, what did you think about seeing them projected vs. on film?


By "on film", do you mean on DVD? It was definitely a different experience. My home setup is not very awe-inspiring, so it's obviously much more overwhelming in the theater. And yet, I did find myself getting distracted a bit more... my eyes would occasionally wander to the edges of the screen. Dog Star Man in particular seemed less compelling than when I watched it at home, but perhaps I was a bit tired (I nodded off a bit during Visions in Meditation). I was sitting in the third row, but I think next time I'm going to sit right up front. My girlfriend hates experimental film so it was nice to be part of an appreciative audience.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure there's no way THE DANTE QUARTET is 105 minutes on the Criterion disc - his filmography lists it as being around 6.


It is 6 minutes on the DVD. I thought maybe it was a part of a larger piece, but according to that filmography it's not.

oh, who am I kidding, I'll never be content until I see them all

Ditto to that. The DVD was my introduction to Brakhage, but I'm definitely hooked now.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted October 13 2003 - 04:39 AM

So Doug, did you go last night? What did that guy yell out after "Walls of Heaven"? It sounded like either "bombast" or "pomp-ass".

Here's my thoughts:

"The Dante Quartet" - I didn't particularly like it on the DVD, but it works a lot better on the big screen, especially the shifts in aspect ratio

"Chartres Series" - started off kinda dull, but got very beautiful about halfway through, with the stained glass effect

"Persian Series 1-5" - this alone was worth the $7. I hope these make it to DVD some day

"Commingled Containers" - one of my favorites from the DVD, and a real joy to see on the big screen

"Night Mulch" & "Very" - nice to see a bit of humor in his work. Of course, I was surprised to see them, considering the Cinema Project guy had announced they were held up at customs.

"Ressurectus Est" - this is where things started going downhill. This felt a lot more random than the other pieces, but not as random as...

"Panels for the Walls of Heaven" - ugh. A few nice moments, but they seemed purely accidental. I was checking my watch through this long and tedious piece.

"Chinese Series" - interesting concept, I liked it





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