Brakhage [DVD] [1999]

Experimental cinema legend Stan Brakhage is not exactly a household name; his work is practically unknown outside avant-garde and academic circles. But since 1952, when he was nineteen, he has created over 300 films, ranging from several seconds to several hours, methodically redefining the shape of film art. This documentary, made for Canadian TV, tries to show why he is considered one of the most innovative filmmakers of the last 50 years by exploring the depth and breath of his genius, the exceptional quality of his films and the influence of his work on generations of filmmakers. Director/screenwriter Jim Shedden does away with narration and commentary and instead lets the images speak for themselves. Film excerpts include sequences from works by Brakhage and other avant-garde filmmakers, such as George Kuchar, Jonas Mekas and Willie Varela, as well as interviews and archival footage. What is lacking is a critical analysis. For instance, Brakhage's unpopularity among 1970's feminist film-theorists -- particularly due to his patriarchal image -- is left unexplored. An original score was composed for the film by a long time associate of Brakhage, avant-garde composer James Tenney. Brakhage was screened at the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Brakhage on Film: a 1965 documentary by Arnold Gassan and Carlos Steegmiller
  • Legendery Epics, Yarns and Fables: Stan Brakhage - an early-1970s program featuring Brakhage musing on filmmaking and sound
  • Brakhage Excerpt Guide: watch the Brakhage film clips included in Brakhage chronologically, featuring rarities previously unavailable on DVD including The Way to Shadow Garden (1954) and Anticipation of the Night (1958)

Synopsis

Brakhage
Experimental cinema legend Stan Brakhage is not exactly a household name; his work is practically unknown outside avant-garde and academic circles. But since 1952, when he was nineteen, he has created over 300 films, ranging from several seconds to several hours, methodically redefining the shape of film art. This documentary, made for Canadian TV, tries to show why he is considered one of the most innovative filmmakers of the last 50 years by exploring the depth and breath of his genius, the exceptional quality of his films and the influence of his work on generations of filmmakers. Director/screenwriter Jim Shedden does away with narration and commentary and instead lets the images speak for themselves. Film excerpts include sequences from works by Brakhage and other avant-garde filmmakers, such as George Kuchar, Jonas Mekas and Willie Varela, as well as interviews and archival footage. What is lacking is a critical analysis. For instance, Brakhage's unpopularity among 1970's feminist film-theorists -- particularly due to his patriarchal image -- is left unexplored. An original score was composed for the film by a long time associate of Brakhage, avant-garde composer James Tenney. Brakhage was screened at the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Stan Brakhage
    Stan Brakhage
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