Stan Brakhage

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Stan Brakhage (1933-2003)

Stan Brakhage (January 14, 1933 - March 9, 2003) was an American filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the most important experimental filmmakers of the 20th century.

Brakhage was born as Robert Sanders in an orphanage in Kansas City, Missouri. Three weeks after his birth, he was adopted by Ludwig and Clara Brakhage, and he was given the name James Stanley Brakhage.

As a child, he appeared on radio as a boy soprano before going to high school in Denver, Colorado and then dropping out of Dartmouth College after several months to make films. He was influenced by the writings of Sergei Eisenstein and the films of Jean Cocteau as well as the Italian neo-realism movement. His first film, Interim (1952), was in the neo-realist style and had music by James Tenney.

In 1953, Brakhage moved to San Francisco where he associated with poets such as Robert Duncan and Kenneth Rexroth. In late 1954, he moved to New York City where he associated with a number of contemporary artists, among them Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Joseph Cornell and John Cage.

Brakhage's films are usually silent and lack a traditional story, being more analogous to visual poetry than to prose story-telling. He often referred to them as "visual music." His films range in length from just a few seconds to several hours, but most last between two or three minutes and one hour. Most of his work was done in 8mm or 16mm film, and he frequently hand-painted the film or scratched the image directly into the film emulsion, and sometimes used collage techniques. For Mothlight (1963), for example, he stuck moth wings, twigs, and leaves onto tape and made prints from it.

Brakhage's work covers a variety of subjects and techniques. Window Water Baby Moving (1959) is a record of the birth of his first child, while 23rd Psalm Branch (1966-67) is a meditation on war that intercuts footage of Colorado, where he lived, with shots of World War II. Dog Star Man (1961-64), perhaps his most famous work, features a man climbing a mountain, shots of stellar objects and more footage of his wife giving birth. It is usually read as addressing the unity of creation. The same footage was also made into a much longer film, The Art of Vision. Works from his later periods include the four-part "Faust Series"(1987-89), the four-part "Visions in Meditation" (1989-90), "Passage Through: A Ritual" (1991), and "The Vancouver Island Quartet" (1991-2002). One of his last works was the thirty minute hand-painted film, "Panels For the Walls of Heaven," the last of the four Vancouver Island films. He also completed several more collaborations with musicians, including two more works with music by James Tenney, "Christ Mass Sex Dance" (1991), and "Ellipses #5" (1998).

Brakhage wrote a number of books, including Metaphors on Vision(1963) and the posthumously published "Telling Time: Essays of a Visionary Filmmaker" (2003). He often gave lectures at universities, museums, galleries, film festivals and so on. From 1969 he taught film history and aesthetics at the Art Institute of Chicago and from 1981 taught at the University of Colorado.

Brakhage retired to Canada in 2002. He died in Victoria, British Columbia from bladder cancer having made almost four hundred films in all. It is believed that the coal-tar dyes he used to paint his films contributed to the cancer.

Brakhage is revered as one of the most important experimental filmmakers of the 20th century, and his work has had some small impact on mainstream cinema. The credits of the film Seven, with their scratched emulsion, rapid cutaways and bursts of light are very much in Brakhage's style.

Among Brakhage's students were the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and he is featured in their student film Cannibal! The Musical. The character Stan in South Park is apparently an homage to Brakhage, in name if nothing else. The opening track of Stereolab's album Dots and Loops, "Brakhage", is also named after him.

After his death, a DVD including 26 of Brakhage's films, by Brakhage, was released by the Criterion Collection.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive is currently working on the restoration of Stan Brakhage's complete film output.


Filmography

Chinese Series (2003)
Work in Progress (2003)
Stan's Window (2003)
Seasons... (2002)
Lovesong 4 (2002)
SB (One Minute for Vienna) (2002)
Panels for the Walls of Heaven (2002)
Dark Night of the Soul (2002)
Lovesong 5 (2002)
Lovesong 6 (2002)
Ascension (2002/II)
Lovesong 3 (2002)
Max (2002/II)
Persian Series #13 (2001)
Persian Series #14 (2001)
Persian Series #15 (2001)
Persian Series #16 (2001)
Persian Series #17 (2001)
Persian Series #18 (2001)
Lovesong (2001)
Lovesong 2 (2001)
Occam's Thread (2001)
Baby Jesus (2001)
Christ on Cross (2001)
In Jesus Name (2001)
Jesus Wept (2001)
Micro-Garden (2001)
Night Mulch (2001)
Rounds (2001)
Very (2001)
Dance (2000)
The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000)
Persian Series #10 (2000)
Persian Series #11 (2000)
Persian Series #12 (2000)
Persian Series #6 (2000)
Persian Series #7 (2000)
Persian Series #8 (2000)
Persian Series #9 (2000)
Water for Maya (2000)
...Reel Five (1999)
Alternating Currents (1999)
The Birds of Paradise (1999)
Cloud Chamber (1999)
Coupling (1999)
Cricket Requiem (1999)
The Dark Tower (1999)
The Earthsong of the Cricket (1999)
The Lion and the Zebra Make God's Raw Jewels (1999)
Moilsome Toilsome (1999)
Persian Series #1 (1999)
Persian Series #2 (1999)
Persian Series #3 (1999)
Persian Series #4 (1999)
Persian Series #5 (1999)
Stately Mansions Did Decree (1999)
Worm and Web Love (1999)
Female Mystique and Spare Leaves (1998)
...Reel Four (1998)
...Reel One (1998)
...Reel Three (1998)
...Reel Two (1998)
The Cat of the Worm's Green Realm (1997)
Commingled Containers (1997)
Divertimento (1997)
Self Song/Death Song (1997)
Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind (1997)
Beautiful Funerals (1996)
Blue Value (1996)
Concrescence (1996)
The Fur of Home (1996)
Polite Madness (1996)
Prelude 10 (1996)
Prelude 11 (1996)
Prelude 1 (1996)
Prelude 12 (1996)
Prelude 13 (1996)
Prelude 14 (1996)
Prelude 15 (1996)
Prelude 16 (1996)
Prelude 17 (1996)
Prelude 18 (1996)
Prelude 19 (1996)
Prelude 20 (1996)
Prelude 21 (1996)
Prelude 2 (1996)
Prelude 22 (1996)
Prelude 23 (1996)
Prelude 24 (1996)
Prelude 3 (1996)
Prelude 4 (1996)
Prelude 5 (1996)
Prelude 6 (1996)
Prelude 7 (1996)
Prelude 8 (1996)
Prelude 9 (1996)
Sexual Saga (1996)
Shockingly Hot (1996)
Two Found Objects of Charles Boultenhouse (1996)
Blood Drama (1995)
Blue Black: Introspection (1995)
Earthen Aerie (1995)
I... (1995)
I Am Afraid: And This Is My Fear (1995)
In Consideration of Pompeii (1995)
The Lost Films (1995)
Paranoia Corridor (1995)
Retrospect: The Passover (1995)
Sorrowing (1995)
Spring Cycle (1995)
Black Ice (1994)
Cannot Exist (1994)
Cannot Not Exist (1994)
The Chartres Series (1994)
Elementary Phrases (1994)
First Hymn to the Night - Novalis (1994)
I Take These Truths (1994)
The Mammals of Victoria (1994)
Naughts (1994)
We Hold These (1994)
Autumnal (1993)
Blossom Gift/Favor (1993)
Ephemeral Solidarity (1993)
The Harrowing (1993)
Stellar (1993)
Study in Color and Black and White (1993)
Three Homerics (1993)
Tryst Haunt (1993)
Boulder Blues and Pearls and... (1992)
Crack Glass Eulogy (1992)
For Marilyn (1992)
Interpolations I-V (1992)
Agnus Dei Kinder Synapse (1991)
A Child's Garden and the Serious Sea (1991)
Christ Mass Sex Dance (1991)
Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse (1991)
Vision of the Fire Tree (1991)
Babylon Series #2 (1990)
Babylon Series #3 (1990)
City Streaming (1990)
Glaze of Cathexis (1990)
Passage Through: A Ritual (1990)
The Thatch of Night (1990)
Visions in Meditation #3: Plato's Cave (1990)
Visions in Meditation
4: D.H. Lawrence (1990)
Babylon Series (1989)
Faust 4 (1989)
Visions in Meditation #1 (1989)
Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde (1989)
I... Dreaming (1988)
Marilyn's Window (1988)
Faust 3: Candida Albacore (1988)
Faust's Other: An Idyll (1988)
Matins (1988)
Rage Net (1988)
The Dante Quartet (1987)
Faustfilm: An Opera: Part I (1987)
Kindering (1987)
Loud Visual Noises (1987)
The Aerodyne (1986)
Confession (1986)
Dance Shadows by Danielle Helander (1986)
Fireloop (1986)
Jane (1986)
The Loom (1986)
Night Music (1986)
Egyptian Series (1984)
Tortured Dust (1984)
Arabic Numeral Series 14 (1982)
Arabic Numeral Series 15 (1982)
Arabic Numeral Series 16 (1982)
Arabic Numeral Series 17 (1982)
Arabic Numeral Series 18 (1982)
Arabic Numeral Series 19 (1982)
Hell Spit Flexion (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 0 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 10 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 11 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 12 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 13 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 4 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 5 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 6 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 7 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 8 (1981)
Arabic Numeral Series 9 (1981)
The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981)
Nodes (1981)
Roman Numeral Series IX (1981)
Roman Numeral Series VIII (1981)
RR (1981)
Unconscious London Strata (1981)
Aftermath (1980/II)
Arabic Numeral Series 1 (1980)
Arabic Numeral Series 2 (1980)
Arabic Numeral Series 3 (1980)
Duplicity III (1980)
Made Manifest (1980)
Murder Psalm (1980)
Other (1980)
Roman Numeral Series III (1980)
Roman Numeral Series IV (1980)
Roman Numeral Series V (1980)
Roman Numeral Series VI (1980)
Roman Numeral Series VII (1980)
Salome (1980)
Sincerity IV (1980)
Sincerity V (1980)
@ (1979)
Creation (1979)
Roman Numeral Series I (1979)
Roman Numeral Series II (1979)
23rd Psalm Branch: Part II (1978)
Bird (1978)
Burial Path (1978)
Centre (1978)
Duplicity (1978)
Duplicity II (1978)
Nightmare Series (1978)
Purity, and After (1978)
Sincerity III (1978)
Sluice (1978)
Thot-Fal'N (1978)
The Domain of the Moment (1977)
The Governor (1977)
Soldiers and Other Cosmic Objects (1977)
Absence (1976)
Airs (1976)
Desert (1976)
The Dream, NYC, the Return, the Flower (1976)
Gadflies (1976)
Highs (1976)
Rembrandt, Etc., and Jane (1976)
Short Films: 1976 (1976)
Sketches (1976)
Tragoedia (1976)
Trio (1976)
Window (1976)
Short Films: 1975 #10 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #1 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #2 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #3 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #4 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #5 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #6 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #7 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #8 (1975)
Short Films: 1975 #9 (1975)
Sincerity II (1975)
Aquarien (1974)
Clancy (1974)
Dominion (1974)
Flight (1974)
He Was Born, He Suffered, He Died (1974)
Hymn to Her (1974)
Skein (1974)
Sol (1974)
Star Garden (1974)
The Stars Are Beautiful (1974)
The Text of Light (1974)
Gift (1973)
Sincerity I (1973)
The Women (1973)
The Process (1972)
The Riddle of Lumen (1972)
Eye Myth Educational (1972)
The Presence (1972)
Sexual Meditation: Faun's Room, Yale (1972)
Sexual Meditation: Office Suite (1972)
Sexual Meditation: Open Field (1972)
The Shores of Phos: A Fable (1972)
The Wold Shadow (1972)
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)
Angels' (1971)
Deus Ex (1971)
Door (1971)
Eyes (1971)
Fox Fire Child Watch (1971)
The Peaceable Kingdom (1971)
Sexual Meditation: Room with View (1971)
The Trip to Door (1971)
Western History (1971)
The Animals of Eden and After (1970)
The Machine of Eden (1970)
Scenes From Under Childhood Section #4 (1970)
Sexual Meditation: Hotel (1970)
Sexual Meditation No. 1: Motel (1970)
The Weir-Falcon Saga (1970)
American 30's Song (1969)
Scenes From Under Childhood Section #2 (1969)
Scenes From Under Childhood Section #3 (1969)
Song 27 (Part II) Rivers (1969)
Song 28 (1969)
Song 29 (1969)
Window Suite of Children's Songs (1969)
The Horseman, the Woman, and the Moth (1968)
Lovemaking (1968)
My Mountain Song 27 (1968)
Song 26 (1968)
23rd Psalm Branch: Part I (1967)
Eye Myth (1967)
Scenes From Under Childhood Section #1 (1967)
Song 24 (1967)
Song 25 (1967)
15 Song Traits (1965)
The Art of Vision (1965)
Black Vision (1965)
Blood's Tone (1965)
Bluewhite (1965)
Fire of Waters (1965)
Pasht (1965)
Song 10 (1965)
Song 11 (1965)
Song 12 (1965)
Song 13 (1965)
Song 14 (1965)
Song 16 (1965)
Song 17 (1965)
Song 18 (1965)
Song 19 (1965)
Song 20 (1965)
Song 21 (1965)
Song 22 (1965)
Song 9 (1965)
Two: Creeley/McClure (1965)
Vein (1965)
Dog Star Man: Part III (1964)
Dog Star Man: Part IV (1964)
Song 1 (1964)
Song 2 (1964)
Song 3 (1964)
Song 4 (1964)
Song 5 (1964)
Song 6 (1964)
Song 7 (1964)
Song 8 (1964)
The A-Test News (1963)
Dog Star Man: Part II (1963)
Meat Jewel (1963)
Mothlight (1963)
Oh Life (1963)
A Woe Story (1963)
Anticipation of the Night (1962)
Prelude: Dog Star Man (1962)
Window Water Baby Moving (1962)
Blue Moses (1962)
Dog Star Man: Part I (1962)
Silent Sound Sense Stars Subotnick and Sender (1962)
Films by Stan Brakhage: An Avant-Garde Home Movie (1961)
Thigh Line Lyre Triangular (1961)
The Dead (1960)
Cat's Cradle (1959)
Sirius Remembered (1959)
Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959)
Daybreak (1957)
Loving (1957)
Whiteye (1957)
Flesh of Morning (1956)
Nightcats (1956)
Zone Moment (1956)
Centuries of June (1955)
In Between (1955)
Reflections on Black (1955)
Untitled Film of Geoffrey Holder's Wedding (1955)
The Wonder Ring (1955)
Desistfilm (1954)
The Extraordinary Child (1954)
The Way to Shadow Garden (1954)
The Boy and the Sea (1953)
Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection (1953)
Interim (1952)


External link

it:Stan Brakhage