Persian Series #1
This hand-painted and elaborately step-printed work begins with a flourish of reds and yellows and purples in palpable fruit-like shapes interspersed by darkness, then becomes lit lightning-like by sharp multiply-colored twigs-of shape, all resolving into shapes of decay.
Persian Series #2
Multiple thrusts and then retractions of oranges, reds, blues, and the flickering, almost black, textural dissolves suggesting an amalgam approaching script.
The Dark Tower
This hand-painted, step-printed film begins with streaks of light and vibrantly colored forms. There appears, frame center, the tapered shape of a tower-- An imposing silhouette against the backdrop of the flaring sky.
The Cat of the Worm’s Green Realm
Flares of color break into streams of light, leaves, wood grain and prism-etched vegetation. A moon lifts out of this dark weave to be replaced by autumn leaves against a grainy sky, a fiery sky. A gray cat licks itself. A black cat sits quickly down on a green lawn. A "night" of showering dark, a "dawn" of pinks and yellows of plant growth in close-up. A gentle yellow "high noon" prevails into which the orange worm appears and reappears, twisting, arching, turning. A phosphorescent orange ...
Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind
A combination of hand-painting and photography.
Commingled Containers is an experimental short film by Stan Brakhage. "This 'return to photography' (after several years of only painting film) was made on the eve of cancer surgery - a kind of 'last testament,' if you will… an envisionment of the fleeting complexity of worldly phenomenon."
I Take These Truths
This film is entirely hand-painted and is composed of such an evolution of variably colored shapes that their inter-action with each other should constitute a purely visual "self-evident" (as prompted by the title). Each frame is printed twice, so that its effective speed (at 24fps) is 12 frames per second. A variety of organic and crystalline painted shapes (painted on clear leader, thus as if brilliantly back-lit in a blazing space of light) are interspersed with very dark (black leader) ...
The Mammals of Victoria
The film begins with a series of horizontally running ocean tide waves, sometimes with mountains in the background, hand-painted patterns, sometimes step-printed hand-painting, abstractions composed of distorted (jammed) TV shapes in shades of blue with occasional red, refractions of light within the camera lens, sometimes mixed with reflections of water. Increasingly closer images of water, and of light reflected off water, as well as of bursts of fire, intersperse the long shots, the ...
From: First Hymn to the Night – Novalis
“This is a hand-painted film whose emotionally referential shapes and colors are interwoven with words (in English) from the first Hymn to the Night by the late 18th century mystic poet Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg, whose pen name was Novalis. The pieces of text which I've used are as follows: ‘the universally gladdening light … As inmost soul … it is breathed by stars … by stone … by suckling plant … multiform beast … and by (you). I turn aside to Holy Night … I seek to blend with ...
Inspired by a bad fall on a patch of black ice (that ultimately resulted in Brakhage's need for eye surgery), the filmmaker gives us something of a dreamlike descent through the fear and refractions of closed-eye vision regarding such an event.
Boulder Blues and Pearls and…
Peripheral envisionment of daily life as the mind has it - i.e., a terrifying ecstasy of (hand-painted) synapting nerve ends back-firing from thought's grip of life.
Study in Color and Black and White
A hand-painted and photographically step-printed film, which exhibits variably shaped small areas of color (in a dark field) that explode into full frames of textured color interwoven with white scratch patterns that create a sense of interior depth and three-dimensional movement.
This is a hand-painted film which has been photographically step-printed to achieve various effects of brief fades and fluidity-of-motion, and makes partial use of painted frames in repetition (for "close-up" of textures). The tone of the film is primarily dark blue, and the paint is composed (and rephotographed microscopically) to suggest galactic forms in a space of stars.
Crack Glass Eulogy
A nostalgic envisionment of city living - the potential shards of memory seen as if always on the verge of cutting the mind to pieces.
Untitled (For Marilyn)
The film is officially untitled, but is referred to by the dedication that appears in place of a title card. It is dedicated to Marilyn Brakhage, the filmmaker's wife. Out of all the 350+ films that Stan Brakhage made, this was his personal favorite.
Glaze of Cathexis
This hand-painted work is easily the most minutely detailed ever given to me to do, for it traces (as best I'm able) the hypnagogic after-effect of psychological cathexis as designed by Freud in his first (and unfinished) book on the subject - "Toward a Scientific Psychology." (SB)
The Garden of Earthly Delights
A collage of two-dimensional images of vegetation, each appearing only for a moment, sometimes as a single image, more often with other bits of stem, leaf, bud, or petal. Often we see only the outline of objects against a black background. Black and green are occasionally joined by fragments of orange or of white and blue. The objects in the frame don't move but they are quickly replaced by another collage, giving the feel of rapid motion. Each collage is crisp, its lines etched against the ...
The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes
At a morgue, forensic pathologists conduct autopsies of the corpses assigned.
The Wold Shadow
A stand of birches. Sunlight brightens and dims, revealing more or less of the woods. A little grass is on the forest floor. Is there a shape in the shadows? Something green is out of focus. The light flashes, and the screen goes dark from time to time. We look up close at the bark of trees. Is the god of the forest to be seen?
After the title, a white screen gives way to a series of frames suggestive of abstract art, usually with one or two colors dominating and rapid change in the images. Two figures emerge from this jungle of color: the first, a shirtless man, appears twice, coming into focus, then disappearing behind the bursts and patterns of color, then reappearing; the second figure appears later, in the right foreground. This figure suggests someone older, someone of substance. The myth?
Scenes from Under Childhood, Section One
A visualization of the inner world of foetal beginnings, the infant, the baby, the child - a shattering of the "myths of childhood" through revelation of the extremes of violent terror and overwhelming joy of that world darkened to most adults by their sentimental remembering of it ... a "tone poem" for the eye - very inspired by the music of Oliver Messiaen.